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Photo: Qilin’s prance Filmmaker (Shutterstock) A cooldown is part of every workout, in theory. Whether it’s a session with weights at the gym, or a run outdoors, you’re supposed to do some kind of slower-paced activity at the end, and maybe even stretch a little. But honestly, I don’t always have the time. And when I skip my cooldown, nothing bad happens. What gives? To understand this, we have to look at the purposes of a cooldown. Remember from when we talked about warmups that a warmup has a few jobs? Depending on what you’re trying to do that day, you may want to get warm, stretch what needs to be stretched, practice technique, and so on. Some workouts will require all of these things. Some won’t require any. And warmups are individual, so you should make sure that your warmup gives you what you, personally, need. Cooldowns are the same way. If you’ve been skipping them and you feel fine, there’s probably no harm in continuing your usual habits. But let’s look at a few of the jobs that a thorough cooldown accomplishes. It helps your blood circulation You may have heard that blood can “pool in your legs” if you don’t cool down, and that’s partially true. During exercise, your heart is pumping hard to get blood to your muscles. And the motion of your muscles helps to massage the blood back up the veins and back toward your heart. (Veins can’t contract to help pump the […]