I always talk about the importance of working out, but properly cooling down after a good workout is often overlooked. Why is that? I think it’s because we focus on the hurdle of working out, but often forget about the long-term benefits of tapering down. While a nap may seem more inviting after a rough gym session, your post-workout routine is more important than you think. Here are 5 cool down exercises for workout recovery.
Just as it’s important to gradually increase core body temperature and heart rate during the warm-up portion of a workout, so too is it important to gradually decrease the intensity of exercise during the cool down phase. After all, cooling down is your best bet for injury prevention and even stress relief. Below are some cool down exercises to take your heart rate down after a good workout.
Lunge and Twist
From a push-up position, step your right foot forward and place it on the floor to the right of your right hand (your right knee should be near your right shoulder). Straighten your left leg as much as possible and keep it there throughout the move. Reach your right hand under your body as if trying to touch something on the floor near your left hip. Reach your right hand up and back behind you, extending your fingertips toward the ceiling. Pull your right shoulder blade back toward your spine.
Do you feel that? This is a wonderful cool down exercise to stretch the spine and your hamstrings. Your body will thank you for this later. Watch the video to do this exercise properly here.
If you have been running or jogging at a good pace, keep moving as your body returns to normal function. You can slow to a jog, then slow to a fast walk, then slowly bring your pace down to a normal walk over the course of about 5 minutes.
Lie on your back and raise one leg while keeping the other on the floor and bent at the knee. This should feel so good after an intense session of working out. Just hold the back of the raised leg and pull it up till you feel the stretch. Aaahh…
Your back is likely involved in any exercise you are doing, especially when lifting weights. At the end of your workout, consider this wonderful yoga pose that will provide instant relief. For Child’s Pose, kneel on the floor and bring your butt back over your heels. Sink down so that your chest lies on your legs. Keep your arms extended in front of you. Breathe deeply and take just a minute to feel the stretch and to focus on your breathing.
Okay, so this is not an exercise, but it’s important! Along with the rest of your body, your muscles needs to cool down.
Drinking water or a sports beverage low in sugar helps to flush out any lactic acid that accumulates in the muscles.
Did these cool down exercise suggestions help you? Is there one that you love to implement after a tough workout? I’d love to hear your thoughts at email@example.com. Also, be sure to check out ways to measure your exercise intensity with this article here. Thank you for reading and be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul Blog weekly newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each Friday.