Why Should I Cool Down After My Workout?
When you finish your training session, it’s time to cool down. And while this may not be the first thing that comes to your mind – you probably want to hit the showers, rehydrate, and relax – it is highly recommended.
I know it’s boring. Nobody wants to finish a workout just to do cooldown exercises. But it is important. Cooling down is a critical part of the workout and training session as a whole. Your body has been working hard to pump blood all through your body, to your lungs, your muscles, and to your heart, and you need to let your body recuperate slowly.
Think of it like slamming the breaks when you’re driving your car 60 miles per hour. You would probably fly through the windshield. It’s the same thing after your training session. You want to slow steadily and lower your core temperature gradually.
Why is this important? Well, because the cooldown phase prevents blood from building up in your veins, it prevents fainting or dizziness fatigue, and it makes your muscles and tendons more elastic, improving your range of motion and flexibility when the session is over. Plus, it’s refreshing to stop and have a nice, calming cooldown session after jumping, jogging, lifting, fighting, or whatever else you were doing.
How Do I Cool Down Properly?
There ae a few tips I can give you to have an effective cooldown. Even though it may feel annoying to do a mini workout after a long training session, once you get into the habit of doing it, it will be just like clockwork.
First of all, you don't need to stress out your body anymore. The cooldown should be a slow and easy stretching phase. Be sure that when you are stretching afterwards you hold your stretches for about 30 seconds each. Any less than thirty seconds and you may as well be beating a dead horse, there will be very little changes and you are essentially wasting time.
Another tip I can give you is that you shouldn't listen to music. Music can pump you up, get you jacked, and keep your heart rate elevated all on its own. Turn the music off and enjoy the satisfying and somewhat meditative tranquility of your cooldown stretches.
It is important to note that cooling down is not going to stop you from being sore, especially if you just had a brutal training session. The cooldown is only meant to help your body transition from a hot state of exercise into a relaxed resting state.
Cooling Down Stretches
Your cooldown session can last anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. Some of the best ways to cool down are by bending, stretching, and doing some light jogging. Let's go through a few of the easiest and most effective ways to cool your body down after a training session.
Jogging & Walking: One of the classic ways to cool down after any training session is to do a bit of walking. This is especially true if you have been running for a long time, sprinting, or riding a bicycle hard for a few hours.
Take 5 minutes, do some slow, steady walking, and let yourself cool down and relax. This is one of the best ways to lower your heart rate and let all that adrenaline seep out of you. Plus, it’s easy to do.
Upper Body Stretches:These are the stretches that you see everybody doing all of the time. You lock your fingers together, bend your arms and reach your palms to the ceiling. You do this while keeping your spine completely straight and stretching out your entire upper body.
Next, you want to interlock your fingers, left wrist over your right wrist so that your palms are touching, and repeat the process, stretching your arms to the ceiling. Do it again but with your right wrist over your left wrist.
Reclining Butterfly:This may seem like yoga, and it kind of is, but it is also a great way to cool down. Lie on your back with your feet pressed against each other and your knees arched out, making you look like a butterfly. Put your arms alongside your body and then hold the pose for five solid minutes. This is a long one, but it feels great when you’re finished.
Bend Over, Touch Your Toes: Sit on your butt, toes up, back straight. Now reach for your toes, folding your torso at the hip, and hold the position for a full minute. Simple, right? And it feels amazing.
Standing Quadricep Stretches: I guarantee you do these all the time without even thinking about it. Simply stand straight, bend your leg so that your heel touches your butt, and hold it with your hand. You see people doing these all the time. In fact, they are almost the “faux” stretches of out-of-shape people before their first workout. Quadricep stretche are great after you’ve just finished an extensive running session.
You absolutely should cool down after a hard training session. That is the only conclusion that you should have gained from reading this article. I know it’s the last thing we want after we've just completed a brutal workout – to sit down and stretch like we’re doing some hot yoga. But it is super beneficial for your body.
Plus, you don't even need to stretch. You can do some light jogging, a little bit of speed walking, or even just shake it out. But it is important to slip sweetly into a resting state. You don't want to leave the gym all half-cocked and get into your car. You could be a dangerous maniac!
The next time you finish a training session, just remember what you have learned here today. Take 5 minutes, touch your toes, let your breath slow down, and do some static stretches to hold those muscles in place and give your body the reprieve it deserves.