A cool-down is a light activity that you do for 5 to 15 minutes to recover from physical activity. Start the cool-down soon after you have completed the physical activity. This helps your heart and body return to their normal state. Cooling down prevents blood from collecting (pooling) in your arms and legs and prevents cramping, increased blood pressure, dizziness, or feeling sick to your stomach.
A good cool-down is walking slowly for at least 5 minutes followed by stretching. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Your cool-down should also include drinking water to replace lost fluids (this is called rehydrating the body).
If you did an activity that caused you to breathe hard and raised your heart rate, such as jogging, running, swimming laps or fast biking, you might also cool down with a massage, cold water bath, eating a snack, or sleeping.
Last Reviewed: December 2016
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