There are various ways to cool down after you exercise. After reading this, you can choose the best cool-down method for the exercise you’re doing.
Have you just returned from an intense workout? Do you want to cool down but aren’t sure how to? Well, we’ve got the answer for you.
This article will cover some of the most effective cool-down exercises that will get your heart rate down to an average pace while stretching out your muscles and improving your flexibility.
So grab a yoga mat, a bottle of water, and let’s get started.
Stretch Cool Down After Workout
Before formulating your cool-down routine, you need to know that these stretches are done after a more intense activity to allow the body to transition into a resting or near-resting state gradually; this means that the cool-down depends on how strenuous the workout was.
If you had a HIIT workout, cooling down could include slow jogging or walking followed by stretching. However, only stretching might be enough if you had a lower intensity workout, only stretching might be enough.
So depending on what kind of workout you just finished, your cool-down routine will change. However, these stretches will always be a combination of static and dynamic stretches meant to calm your body down. That is one crucial constant.
How to Cool Down After Intense Exercise?
Now that you know what cool-downs are in general let’s look at specific cool-down stretches and exercises that will come in handy after an intense workout.
Light jogging is one of the most straightforward cool-down exercises. Do three to five minutes of light jogging and follow it up with three to five minutes of walking. Assuming your intense workout includes cardio exercises like burpees and resistance training with heavy weights, light jogging is the ideal way to slow your body down.
Upper Body Stretch
After light jogging and walking, move on to stretching individual parts of your body. We recommend starting with the upper body. Interlace your fingers and press your palms up towards the ceiling.
Push your hands as up and back as you can while keeping your back straight. Then put your left arm in front of your right arm and make your palms face each other. Repeat this motion on the other side.
Sit down on a yoga mat and extend your legs in front of you. Bend forward from your hips and go as low as you can comfortably go. Point your toes to the sky and grab the top part of your feet with both hands.
Hold the bend for 30 to 60 seconds.
Single-Leg Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor and extend your right leg straight in front of you. Bend the left leg at the knee and place your left foot’s sole against your right inner thigh. Elongate both your arms and reach forward.
When you begin doing this exercise, there is a good chance you might only be able to touch your right knee due to lower levels of flexibility. However, as time goes on and you practice more, you will deepen the stretch and reach further ahead.
As for now, hold the stretch as deep as you possibly can for 30 seconds. Then come back up and switch legs.
Knee To Chest
Lie down on your back and extend both legs. Then bend your left leg and pull your left knee into your chest. Then push your left leg outwards and pull your right knee towards your chest. Next, interlace your fingers around the knee and hold the pose for a few seconds.
Repeat this motion of alternating which leg you pull inwards twice or thrice. Again, remember to keep your back straight and avoid arching your spine.
Flexibility exercises during a cool down prevent your muscles from getting sore. They help you become more flexible and improve your overall health. One of the best such exercises is the butterfly pose. In addition to its effectiveness and various health benefits, it’s great because it is a beginner-friendly stretch.
Lie down on your back with the soles of your feet together. Bend your knees to the side as much as you comfortably can. Place your arms next to your body and hold this stretch for two to three minutes.
Take deep breaths and try to deepen the stretch every time you breathe out. However, don’t push yourself too far, or you’ll hurt the muscles in your legs.
Downward Facing Dog
Another excellent flexibility exercise is the downward-facing dog. Start in a high plank on your feet and hands. Push your hip backward and raise your glutes. Remember to keep your spine straight.
Spread your fingers and press your weight evenly between both hands. Hold the pose for a minute.
Start in a tabletop position and sit back on top of your heels. Extend your arms in front of you and let your chest fall into your thighs. Breathe in and out deeply as you lower yourself. If keeping your arms in front of you is uncomfortable, you can place them alongside your body.
The goal of cool-down exercises is to calm your body down. Therefore, your comfort is the primary consideration. If any stretches and exercises are uncomfortable, modify them so that the stretches will be more comfortable for you.
Running isn’t like most other intensity exercises. It is an excellent intensity training workout, but your cool-down will be a little different if you’re running instead of going to the gym and doing exercise workouts.
We discuss these following two stretches in more detail in our article that you should read before going for a run. Look for the section titled Stretching Exercises for Runners for the best warm-up and cool-down after exercise tips for runners.
Hip Flexor Stretch – Cool-Down Stretch After Running
Calf Stretch – Cool-Down Stretch After Running
Learn more details about the Hip Flexor Stretch or the Calf Stretch with instructions to perform each stretch properly. Please click on the picture above to link to the article.
There are several reasons why you may feel muscle tightness while running. For a beginner or more casual or non-athlete, the main reason is failure to stretch or stretch enough before beginning your run.
Another contributing factor described in this article is the failure to cool down and stretch after a run properly.
Running-Physio goes into much more depth for athletes or those deep into intense training. There could be other factors at play in those situations.
Since most of us are Dad’s, we are just looking to get into shape, lose some weight, and feel better. The main factor is taking the time to stretch before and after a run.
How Do You Cool Down After Exercise – Wrap Up
So often overlooked, stretching before and after an intense workout is super important. It helps your body get used to functioning at a standard rate after you’ve been making it work super hard at a high intensity. Now you know more about adequately cooling down after your exercise.
Cool-down stretches are mostly static stretches. However, you should include a bunch of dynamic stretches in your routine to get the best results.
Dad’s, let’s get active to get healthy and live a long and fruitful life with our children. Just be sure to stretch well, so we don’t hurt ourselves more in the process.