I've heard numerous times that you should not sit down immediately after the exercise when the heart rate is high and you should stand and walk around for a bit. However I don't remember a convincing explanation as to why this is the case.

Is this true or an urban myth based on some dated research? If true, what exactly happens in a human body that makes it bad?


Well, it's not outdated to be sure. I'm an Exercise Science major at Ball State U and I hear that you should not sit down immediately after intense exercise. I'm not exactly sure of the mechanism but if I remember right, it is because of the way venous blood returns to the heart. Muscle contraction is a large mover of blood back to the heart by pushing blood past one-way valves located throughout your veins (not arteries). For example, when you finish working out your legs, if you sit down you won't be using your leg muscles so you won't be pumping as much blood from your veins back to the heart. If not enough blood gets back to the heart, voila: your blood pressure drops and you can pass out.

If you ever feel like you are about to pass out from anything, cross your legs and squeeze your thighs and butt muscles. It quickly returns blood to your heart, allowing you to maintain blood pressure to the brain. I promise, it works!

  • 1
    Hi @JonathanQ! Welcome to the site, its nice to see more Exercise Science people on the site and look forward to reading more of your answers
    – Ivo Flipse
    Dec 14 '11 at 11:18

The general idea behind the rule of "don't sit after working out" (and I am not a medical expert - I don't know how valid this is) is that if you go from an intense workout to just sitting and not moving at all, blood will start to pool in the lower areas of your body. This will later cause muscle pain and extra stress to the body.

In my mind, this at least makes some sense. Just as you should not go from lifting weights to stopping and going home, you should also cool down from an intense cardio workout. Not only will you prevent injury, but you will continue to reap the benefits of the workout for awhile longer. (Stretching after lifting, walking after running, etc.)


I don't know about blood pooling or all that jibber-jabber.

I do know that if I sit down right after sprints, barbell squats, deadlifts, kettlebell work, or judo, then my back and hamstrings will (without fail) get tight, lose flexibility, and possibly cramp up.

I do not know the method, but I can vouch for the phenomenon.


I've also found that if I sit immediately after a session of long, intense cardio, I can experience a brief bout of low blood pressure (I.e., my vision narrows and I almost black out). I used to experience this when I was doing road cycling and / or mountain biking. If l rode really hard, then stopped and lay down in the grass, I'd feel the above symptoms if I stood up quickly, where as if I walked around instead (or just peddled my bike slowly for a while) I'd still feel tired, but wouldn't nearly black out or feel quite as exhausted.

I don't claim to understand the physical mechanisms at play, but this was something I'd experience consistently.


The correct medical and scientific.answer is that if you sit down after running you will most likely get a blood clot and die. My sources/proof: teens and adults I've known who've died bc they sit after an intense workout. I play sports and in soccer your not suppose to bend your knees when standing on the field after running so much bc people have gotten bloodclots. It's the same with other sports..even cheerleading and gymnastics.trust me I know.

  • 3
    Well, personal anecdotes aren't really medical and scientific (i.e. not an actual published peer-reviewed study), but thanks for pointing me where to look.
    – Alex B
    Nov 9 '12 at 1:20
  • This answer is pretty bad in my opinion. Besides the points mentioned by AlexB, personal anecdotes don't even have to be true, and I never trust anyone on the Internet (at least not in the first place). Especially not those who tell me to trust them.
    – Baarn
    Nov 9 '12 at 7:09
  • it seamed hilarious when i heard the 'die' work, Jul 18 '21 at 17:30

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.