Can You Sit After a Workout? (Do This Instead)


So you just got an intense workout done and you’re really feeling like sitting down. Can you sit after a workout? Is it necessarily a good idea?

The answer is no, you should not sit down or lie down after completing a workout, because your body needs time to recover, and this recovery can be hampered by sitting.

Let’s explore why sitting right after a workout is a bad idea and what you should do instead.

Can You Sit After a Workout?

You should not sit down after a workout. As much as you may want to, it’s not a good idea.

Here’s why: When you work out, your heart rate increases and your muscles will contract.

Why does this occur? The answer is the sympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system will kick in during initiation of exercise by releasing the hormone adrenaline. This release of adrenaline will cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.

Adrenaline also causes your muscles to contract so you can move more efficiently. Your muscles need to contract in order for you to move at a faster rate.

During exercise, your body may need three or four times your normal cardiac output, because your muscles need more oxygen when you exert yourself.

During intense exercise, your heart will beat faster so that more blood gets out to your body where it is needed.

Your heart can also increase its stroke volume by pumping more forcefully or increasing the amount of blood that fills the left ventricle before it pumps.

Your respiratory rate increases due to increased oxygen consumption by the body which produces more carbon dioxide that needs to be expelled during breathing.

What does this mean? It means your heart beats both faster and stronger to increase cardiac output during exercise due to increased demand for oxygenized blood.

After you finish working out, it takes time for your body to return to its pre-exercise state.

If you sit down or lie down immediately after working out, your muscles will likely tighten up and your recovery will take longer as blood flow will not be able to return to vital organs as fast as it would if you were standing upright.

Why Should You Not Sit After a Workout?

The reason you should definitely not sit down right after a workout is due to our body’s circulation system and it’s major pump- the heart.

Venous blood flow is important, especially after an intense workout.

When you are working out intensely, your cardiovascular system is functioning at its peak.

The capillaries located in your extremities open up wider to supply vital nutrients and more oxygen to the muscles that are being used.  

Blood is taken from areas of lesser importance to areas where it needs it most which are the muscles being used when you are working out in addition to your lungs.  

When you are done working out it is important to get that blood from the extremities back to the brain and other vital organs so that they can function properly.

Sitting or lying down after a workout will cause that blood to pool in your extremities instead of flowing back to the vital organs where it needs to go.

This is why you feel lightheaded or dizzy when you stand up too fast after working out- because not enough blood has made it back to the brain yet.

If you choose to sit down after a workout, is is going to take much longer for this blood to be redirected back to more important areas, such as your brain, which can cause you to pass out.

This is the last thing you want to happen, trust me!

Passing out, also known as “syncope,” is no joke. You can seriously injure yourself badly.

Don’t Sit After a Workout- Do This Instead

Next time you are itching to take a seat or lay back on the ground after you finish a tough workout, try these things instead:

Walk around for a few minutes

Walking helps increase blood flow and prevents your muscles from tightening up.

Instead of sitting down after you workout, just walk. This does not have to be anything fancy, just walk around the block.

This will give your body a chance to cool down and your heart rate to slowly come back down, which will help get blood back to where it needs to be.

Drink some water

You need to stay hydrated after workouts, and you should always carry some water with you for after you are finished.

Dehydration can cause cramps, so it’s important to rehydrate after a workout.

Perform Static Stretches After a Workout

What is static stretching? Static stretching consists of stretching a muscle and then holding that position for at least 15 or 20 seconds or up to 45 seconds.

Static stretches are a great idea to perform after your high intensity workout, or even after a light workout.

Stretching after a workout has many benefits including:

  • Improved blood circulation
  • Decreased lactic acid production (this causes sore muscles)
  • Prevention of injury

You can’t go wrong with stretching.

The best part? It only takes 10 minutes of your time after your workout is complete.

Check out this awesome, helpful video below to learn how to perform static stretches.

Don’t Sit- Make a Post-Workout Cool Down Routine

A cool down routine is an important part of any workout and it is a good idea to start including one after every workout.

After you finish your main set or last exercise, it’s time to slow things down a bit.

That doesn’t mean you should sit down, but it does mean you should perform some exercises at a lower intensity to help your body recover.

Your cool down could include walking on the treadmill at a slower pace, riding a stationary bike at a lower intensity, or even some light jogging.

Just make sure you aren’t going too hard. Remember, the goal is to cool down, not rev things up again.

This is especially easy if you choose to do cardio on a treadmill, elliptical machine, or a stationary bike.

These machines usually always have cool down periods and programs built right into the machine, so you can utilize these programs right on the screen.

In Summary

You should avoid sitting or lying down after a workout.

Instead, try walking around for a few minutes or perform some static stretches at the least to help your body wind down and allow for return of blood flow.

Also, do not forget to drink some water and make sure you are adequately hydrated post-workout.

It’s always a good idea to perform a cool down routine after your workout to help your body recover.

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