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Cooling down is just as important as your workout.

You’re wrapping up an intense Zumba class. You’ve sweat, shimmied and rocked your way through reggaeton, hip-hop, salsa and all your favorites. Now it’s time to cool down and breathe it out.

This part of your workout is just as important as the rest, so think twice before skipping it! Joy Prouty, Director of Education for Programs and Trainings at the Zumba Home Office, says that a cool down period is essential in order to safely decrease exercise intensity.

“The cool down is a time to gradually lower the heart rate and blood pressure to near pre-exercise rates,” says Prouty.

According to the American Heart Association, if you stop suddenly after a workout, you’ll risk getting lightheaded–or worse, fainting–because your heart rate and blood pressure will drop so rapidly. In addition, stretching can help you reduce the build-up of lactic acid, which will help you to feel less stiff and sore after a workout.

“The cool down is also a time to stretch all the major muscles used during the workouts,” Prouty explains. “This will enhance flexibility and the range of motion of your joints.”

Generally, a cool down is between 4 to 6 minutes, though some instructors choose to make it a bit longer. But just because you’re nearing the end of your work out doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. While cool down music is usually a bit slower and softer in approach, it can still be super appealing.

Just imagine slowing down to the sounds of Rihanna belting out “Love on the Brain.” There’s no better way to take a deep breath and thank yourself for the work you’ve just done.

 

Photo credit: funduck, Thinkstock

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Susan Mendez
Susan Mendez is the Managing Editor of the ZLife blog and you can usually find her getting her sass on to Beyonce's “Formation” in Zumba class; other loves include eating popcorn while watching “The Voice,” singing [really badly] at the top of her lungs while driving, and wearing red lipstick.