Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cooling You Down

Woke up late in the morning – but don’t want to miss the morning Gym session! So? You decide to hit the weights directly, just skip the warm up and cool down – they are just a waste of time!! Do, I sound familiar?

Many of us consistently skip the cool down whenever we are in a hurry. Unfortunately, the negative results are not immediate but in fact they manifest themselves weeks or months later in the form of aches, shortened muscles, strains, muscle pulls and other postural problems.

Incase of any activity, be it a cardio activity like walking on the treadmill or a resistance-training routine, there are continuous muscle contractions that take place. The muscle fibres in a muscle are the ones that cause the contraction. When the activity is stopped, due to the repetitive nature of all activities, the muscle fibres are still in contraction, and have not returned to their original resting lengths.
Over a period of time, these fibres adjust themselves to the new shortened length causing the muscles to shorten.

Our musculo-skeletal system can be best represented by a camping tent – with one pole in between (skeletal bones and spinal column) and strings on all sides (muscles). So the moment one string tightens up, the pole starts leaning towards it. To compensate this and restore balance, you have to pull and tighten the strings on the opposite side – which means increase the tension in that string!

Thus you can see that the muscles get imbalanced and can even spoil the posture. The intermediate effects of this consequent tension in some muscles can lead to aches, referred pains, muscle pulls, strains etc. For example, if your calf muscles are tight, especially in case you jog, then this can cause a pain in the shoulder muscles and back - neck muscles, as a referred pain!
Moreover, as we have covered earlier, during a cardio activity, majority of the blood supply is diverted to the leg and active muscles. So, when the activity is suddenly stopped, due to gravity, all the blood pools in the leg thus causing temporary reduced blood flow to brain which may lead to dizziness, nausea, fainting.
Hence, it is very essential to reduce the intensity of the activity gradually and then stop,

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