One of the worst things you can do after finishing your training or race is to stand still. It’s necessary warming up, stretching and cooling down.
But, what’s cooling down? Easy! A cool down begins with reducing the intensity of your activity. Don’t sit in your car after finishing your workout !!
If you stand still, then the heart has to all the work by itself. If you continue to move, then the action of the muscles will assist pumping fluids around the body. Keeping moving enables the muscles to contract and assists the heart in pumping. It allows the vessels to contract slowly and expire the waste products as carbon dioxide.
A quality cool down will take 5-10 minutes and consist of a lower intensity exercise period followed by stretching
- 3-5 minutes of exercising at a lower intensity: Focus on deep breathing to return heart rate 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.
- Static stretches are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax and increase their range of movement.
With a proper cool down, you recover faster and avoid injuries. And remember, next time you plan your workout: warm up, stretch, workout, cool down, stretch and… free your mind! 🙂