What is a cooldown? Why is it important?
A cooldown is a period of low-intensity exercise or stretching that is performed after a workout session to help gradually reduce heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature back to normal resting levels.
It is essential to cooldown after exercise as it allows your body to gradually adjust from a state of high physical activity to a state of rest.
This gradual reduction in intensity helps prevent the pooling of blood in your limbs and decreases the risk of dizziness or fainting.
A cooldown also helps to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, prevents injury, and aids in the recovery process by allowing the body to flush out waste products like lactic acid.
The duration of the cooldown can vary depending on the intensity and duration of the workout. As a general rule, a cooldown should last between 5 to 10 minutes.
You can do light exercise such as walking or slow jogging, followed by static stretches.
Here are some cooldown moves and stretches that you can do after a workout to help your body recover:
- Walking or slow jogging:
This can help gradually bring your heart rate down and allow your muscles to cool down.
2. Static stretching:
This involves holding a stretch for a certain period of time without moving. Some good static stretches include:
Hamstring stretch: sit on the ground with one leg extended straight in front of you and the other leg bent with the sole of the foot against the inner thigh of the straight leg. Reach forward toward the extended foot and hold for 15-30 seconds before switching sides.
Quadriceps stretch: stand with your feet hip-width apart and take your right foot behind your right hip. Grasp your right ankle with your right hand and hold for 15-30 seconds before switching sides.
Chest stretch: stand with your feet hip-width apart, interlace your fingers behind your back, and gently lift your arms up and back until you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
3. Foam rolling:
This can help release tension in your muscles and improve flexibility. Roll over the tight areas slowly and with consistent pressure.
4. Slow stretching with breathing :
These can help stretch and lengthen your muscles while also providing a calming effect on your mind.
Remember to listen to your body and never push yourself beyond your limits during a cooldown. Allow yourself enough time to properly cool down before finishing your workout.