You know warm-ups are non-negotiable. Warming up helps get the blood flowing, gets the body primed for movement, and potentially prevents injury. But, what about a cool down? Is it also non-negotiable?
My classic answer: it depends.
But, the question is: is it necessary?
Truthfully, no. It isn't necessary.
According to studies including this one done in 2018, cooling down post-workout does not directly contribute to preventing injury, reducing muscle soreness, or improving muscular recovery. Cool downs may prevent immune system depression and promote cardio recovery. (These are positives!) So is it worth it? Your call / together we make the decision.
I generally recommend cooling down with static stretches and/or a light walk to help bring the heart rate down and take advantage of stretching the already elongated muscles. If anything, this just feels good to conclude a workout.
When choosing cool down exercises, I recommend static holds with the muscles used during your workout. For example, if you did squats, stretching your quads, hamstrings, and hips may feel good at the end of a workout. Aim to hold your static stretches for 20-30 seconds in each position.
Going for a short and light walk may feel good after a lift or cardiovascular session to bring the heart rate down and get your sea legs back to normal.
Like I said, it's not required, but I do recommend it solely on the fact that it makes most people feel good at the end of a training session.
Hope this study doesn't make you want to ditch out on your cool downs from now on, haha!