CindySays™... - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports


Posted: Updated:
Cindy Boggs Cindy Boggs

Cindy Boggs is an American Council on Exercise-certified fitness professional, corporate wellness presenter and author of the award winning book, CindySays… "You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World." Her web site is

You've just finished your run and you feel great about your effort — time to check that box and call it a day. But wait — are you checking that box before you include a cool-down? If so, you may be short-cutting in a way that can sabotage your fitness progress. A cool-down is essential and offers many benefits. Let's say your routine is to run for 45 minutes before or after work. If all you have is 45 minutes, consider reserving at least 5 minutes to slow your pace but keep your body moving.

Why not just stop?

Stopping activity abruptly is hard on your body, and what you do in the minutes post workout has a direct effect on muscle soreness, muscle strength and your ability to progress physically. As you run, your heart beats fast and is pumping a large volume of blood throughout your body. If you stop and no longer move your muscles, it is difficult for the blood to circulate back to your heart. This causes the blood to pool in your extremities, which in the short term can cause dizziness and in the long term can inhibit muscle recovery. Dedicating the last few minutes to slowing your body down gradually are invaluable if you want your hard work to pay off.

After the run

Once you've completed your run (and this applies to walking or any aerobic activity) instead of stopping, it's important to spend about five minutes continuing to move at a slowed pace. Decreasing the demand on your heart incrementally returns it to a resting state in a safe way. Once this is done, it's time to stretch. Many still buy into the misconception that they must stretch before they begin exercising; however, because your muscles have not been warmed-up, they cannot properly stretch. In fact, studies show that trying to stretch cold muscles can actually be detrimental and potentially injurious. Optimally, if you are going for a run, you should begin gradually, and this readies your muscles, joints and cardiovascular system to prepare for the challenge ahead. Some avid runners will warm up for five to seven minutes and then do gentle leg stretches, but deeper stretches should be reserved until after your workout. This will facilitate your recovery process and decrease muscle soreness.


Avoiding dehydration, especially in hot weather, is about being fully hydrated before you begin any type of physical activity and then rehydrating post-workout. If you're exercising intensely for at least an hour, you probably need to drink more than just water — such as a recovery drink — to replenish the fluids lost within 30 minutes. 

Powered by Frankly