One of the primary lessons
you learn when embarking on your fitness journey is
that the importance of a warm up. But, often overlooked, is that the equal importance of the calm down. Let’s take a
glance at the what, why, and the way of a correct calm down to assist you stay injury free!
What is a Cool Down?
The goal of a calm down is to lower the guts rate, blood heat, and breathing rate to pre-exercise levels. A calm down begins with reducing the intensity of your activity (i.e. walking at the top of your jog) which provides the blood an opportunity to re-circulate throughout your body thus reducing your risk of fainting and dizziness.
A calm down typically concludes with stretches that focus on muscles that are overworked during your workout.
Why Cool Down?
Cooling down has several benefits including:
Brings your pulse and breathing back to normal
Prevents fainting or dizziness
Prepares your muscles for subsequent exercise session
Removes waste products (such as lactic acid), which may build up during vigorous activity
Reduces the immediate post-exercise tendency for spasm or cramping
Reduces muscle soreness and stiffness
How do you have to Cool Down?
A quality calm down will take 5-10 minutes and contains a lower intensity exercise period followed by stretching. Of course, if you’re pressed for time, something is usually better than nothing. Even an extended walk back to your car (or round the parking zone before you sit down) will help alleviate concerns of blood pooling which will cause fainting or dizziness.
If you aren’t finding time to stretch at the top of your workouts, consider adding a minimum of one flexibility focused workout or yoga session per week (minimum) to assist reduce muscular imbalances and each day stressors to your body.
A Proper calm down
3-5 minutes of exercising at a lower intensity: specialise in deep breathing to return pulse to normal.
5 minutes of stretching your target muscles: Choose 3-5 stretches for muscles that were ‘worked out,’ holding stretches for 20-30 seconds.
If you’re pressed for time, the subsequent 5 stretches will work wonders after any cardio or lower body focused workout.
Cool Down Stretches
Standing Toe Touch Stretch – an excellent stretch for the hamstrings, glutes, also because the lower back.
Deep Lunge with Rotation – an excellent stretch for the groin, quad and hip flexor.
Figure 4 Stretch – Another great stretch for the hips, glutes, and lower back. If you select to perform standing, you’ll add a quadriceps stretch and alternate back and forth between the 2 stretches.
Upper Chest Stretch – an excellent stretch for opening through the chest and front of the shoulder.
Side Stretch & Swirl – an excellent stretch for the spine, while also strengthening the abs and low back.