A lot of people perform a cool-down after exercise, using exercise modalities such as running or cycling. Reasons for doing a cool-down include reducing lactate, reducing muscle soreness and more generally: improving recovery.

But is a cool-down actually effective at improving recovery, reducing lactate, reducing muscle soreness and altering various other aspects? Does it prevent injuries? And what about the effects on adaptation to training?

In a new review, published Open Access (free to read for everybody) in Sports Medicine, we synthesize all evidence about a cool-down and compare it to doing nothing after exercise (passive cool-down) to answer these questions. Click here to read it, or read the most important conclusions below.

I also recorded a 5 minute video in which I discuss the findings of our review:

 

Sports performance

An active cool-down is largely ineffective at improving performance later during the same day, or during the next day. It can even be harmful for performance later during the same day, but some beneficial effects on next-day performance have also been reported.

Injuries

Regularly performing an active cool-down after exercise does likely not prevent injuries.

Adaptation to training

Regularly performing an active cool-down after exercise does likely not reduce the adaptations to training, and can even enhance the adaptation to training.

Proposed psychophysiological effects of an active cool-down

Interested in the effects of a cool-down on lactate removal, muscle soreness, immune system depression, range of motion, hormones, psychological recovery and many other variables (See figure)? Check out our review, which is freely available online.

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