Exercise plays an important role in a person’s lifestyle. But, just as important is completing cool-down exercises. If you are working out, you may be someone who avoids these exercises because they feel like a “waste of time”, or is simply just too “unimportant”. In reality, cool-down exercises are worth your time. It is important to do them because not only are they vital to better health in general, but more specifically they can assist with improving your heart rate, your body temperature, and blood temperature back to normal.
What is a cool-down exercise?
A cool-down exercise is a series of slow-paced light exercises you can do after an intense activity to allow your body to rest. It can reduce strain on your heart muscle and can make you feel better and more relaxed.
Why should I do a cool-down exercise?
It is very important to do cool down exercises because it will assist in repairing your body. However, you need to perform your cool-down exercises correctly. After a workout session, your heart rate elevates, and your blood pressure can reach its limit. Stopping your workout session quickly without completing cooldowns, can result in dizziness, light-headedness, and in some cases, fainting.
One of the most common things to do after a workout is to complete a cool-down stretch. Stretching is a beneficial way to cool down and has shown to decrease next-day soreness, especially in the quads and calves.
An effective way of stretching is by holding your stretches. Holding stretches can be completed anywhere from ten seconds to two minutes. However, if you go into a stretch and feel excessive pain, reduce the stretch until it is comfortable. Return to that muscle group in a short while and gently stretch it again.
While stretching your legs focuses mostly on runners, this cool down can be crucial to your legs as it keeps the muscles flexible, healthy, and maintains motion in the joints. This includes pulling your leg up behind you to stretch your hamstrings or attempt to reach and touch your toes.
Another area is your upper body such as your chest and arms and these are relatively simple areas to focus on.
These are simple cooldowns that we recommend you to do, but there are other more complex stretches we haven’t mentioned that enable you to focus more on specific muscle groups/.
Another way to help your body to cool down is to get enough water. Good hydration means receiving the right amount of water before, during and after exercise. Being sufficiently hydrated helps to regulate your body temperature and lubricates your joints. Furthermore, water helps to transport nutrients throughout the body to give you energy.
If you’re not hydrated enough, your body cannot perform at its peak as you may feel tired, experience muscle cramps and/or dizziness.
There are no exact rules on how much water you should be drinking during exercise as everyone has individual needs. One thing you should consider is how much you sweat, heat and humidity in your environment, and how long you’ve been exercising.
Yoga is one of the most popular cooldown exercises amongst many. This exercise focuses on breathing techniques, body stretches and poses. Yoga has been proven to help make you stronger, more flexible, and give you a better sense of wellbeing. It’s a perfect way to wind down after a workout.
Yoga can also help improve poor blood circulation, high blood pressure, lower back pain, depression, headaches and even tension or stress. Trying some simple yoga poses such as a cobra pose (pelvis and legs are firmly rooted to the floor as you lift your chest), and downward dog (keep both toes pointed towards the front of the floor and sink your heels towards the floor) can help you wind down.
All of these following cool-down exercises are important for your body and state of mind. While some people tend to ignore these cooldowns due to lack of time or interest, it certainly pays off to try some of these techniques. Not only will you help to reduce your risk of injury and strain on your muscles, but you’ll also help your body to cool off and wind down after a great workout.