Why do you use cool down exercises? They help get your body back to normal and prevent pooling of blood in the extremities, while getting your heart rate down. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, whether it’s just slowing down to a walk to reduce the stress on the heart and muscles or doing stretches to increase range of motion while the muscles are warm, they all help to provide a safe way to end your workout. You’ll get your blood pressure back to normal, lower your potential for injury and prevent blood pooling that can cause dizziness.
You don’t have to make it fancy, sometimes just slowing down is all that’s necessary.
If you’re running, just changing your pace to a light jog or walking the last three to five minutes is all it takes. You can also do that after any tough workout, walk around the gym, stretching as you do. It’s all about getting the body back to normal. In fact, you can combine an upper body stretch with a walk. Just interlace your hands, pushing your arms upward with palms pointed up to the ceiling. Stretch back as far as you can go. Cross the right arm over the left arm, put palms together, interlace fingers and stretch as you raise your hands.
Stretch out your body and get more range of motion.
Before you worked out, you may not have been able to sit with legs straight ahead and lean forward and touch your toes. That warming of the muscles now allow you to do that, so take advantage of it as you cool down. With your legs at a right angle to the body, lift your arms. At the hips, bend your body to fold forward. Put your hands on your legs, reaching toward the feet or even grabbing the feel and pull your body forward, holding the position for a minute.
Whether you’re standing up or laying down, pulling your knees to your chest can be a cool down.
If you’re running, slow down to a walk, pulling one knee to your chest by clasping your fingers around the shin. Hold for a few seconds and then pull the other knee close. You can do this laying down on your back. Lift one leg toward your chest, grasping it with the your hand at the shin and pulling it close. The other leg can be bent or held straight, based on your flexibility. Hold the knee to the chest for a minute, then lower it and do the other side.
- Runners will recognize the standing quadriceps stretch if they use cool down exercises. Bring your right leg up behind your body, touching your body as you’re bending at the knee. Grab it with your hands and pull until that knee lines up with the other one. Hold and reverse sides.
- Something as simple as touching your toes can be a cool down. Lead forward at the hips, and let your head move toward the floor. If you have to bend your knees slightly, it’s not a problem. Try to touch the floor.
- Get a good shoulder stretch after a tough workout. Put your left hand behind your neck on your spine. Take the right hand and gently press on the left elbow to push it further down the spine or reach around with the right hand to pull it further down the spine. Then reverse sides.
- Just shake it off. Shake your right arm first, then the left, then both at the same time. Then do the same thing with the legs. Shake your head, booty and entire body. Do each part for at least 15 seconds. It can be a fun way to end a workout.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness