Cool-Down exercises are often neglected by many. These exercises are essential to get the full benefits of your workout, to recover optimally from the exercise session, and to prevent post-exercise muscle soreness. Cooldown allows the body to ease back to its natural resting state.
Stretching is a key component of cool-down exercises, which help muscles to relax and protect from musculoskeletal injury.
Physiology of cool down–
During cool-down, the cardiac vitals like blood pressure and heart rate returns to normal. The breathing rate returns to normal. It also prevents the pooling of blood in the muscles and promotes its return to vital organs. Lactate (a by-product of workout) is removed from the muscle. It also helps in cooling the body gradually.
The type of cool-down exercise depends upon the type of workout. Cool-down include the following-
- Continue doing the same exercises as your workout session but with reduced intensity for 10 minutes. Cool-down exercises should be gentle and slow.
- Stretching of the muscles involved in the workout. For example,
- If you have done a leg workout, you can do stretching of quads, hams, calf, glute, the figure of four stretch, butterfly stretch, and knee to chest stretch in cool-down exercises. Static stretching helps the muscles to elongate and repair themselves from exercise sessions. Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds. The stretching should not be painful.
- Similarly, after a shoulder workout, one can do the bicep stretch, overhead triceps stretch, crossover body stretch, and chest crossover arm swings.
- After a workout of the back, the child’s pose of yoga, cat-cow pose, lower back rotational stretches, and piriformis stretch are good ways to stretch and relax.
- Deep Breathing exercises and Om chanting are also good ways to induce relaxation after a workout. Even the Shavasana pose of yoga, where you lie down on your back with your arms alongside your body, palms facing up, and your feet spread apart slightly wider than your hips, is a good pose for inducing relaxation. Let your body fall in this pose and breathe deeply.
- A slow jog, walk, or swim, can also be done in the cool-down phase.
The duration of cool-down: 5-10 minutes of cool-down is sufficient. Do rehydrate yourself to replenish the water supplies.
STAY INFORMED! STAY HEALTHY!