Many of us would be out there who have many times ignored our gym or yoga trainer’s suggestions of doing either a warm-up before exercise or a cool down after exercise because we didn’t find it quite necessary. But hold on, both warm-up and cool-down exercises are equally important pre and post-workout. Though they tend to take a few extra minutes of your busy schedule they play a vital role by reducing the stress on your heart and muscles during a workout.
What is a cool-down exercise?
Cooldown exercise is just similar to bringing your car back to first gear before pulling off the brakes. It is an extension of your workout session which takes about 10-13 minutes. After a vigorous session, you continue exercising at a low speed and power to relax the body and muscles.
It can include walking slowly after a jogging or running session, swim laps after a prolonged swimming session, soft body stretches after a vigorous stretching session or even deep breathing after your workout session.
Your cool-down session is just a recovery phase, it may seem to be a trifle but is very important to relax your body and gives time to recover from the stress on muscles and heart.
Exercises to Soothe Your Muscles After a High-Intensity Workout
Though keeping yourself hydrated and drinking lots of water after a workout session is highly recommended by every trainer and health expert, there exist many other great cooling down exercises that you might want to try after your workout:
- All-fours rock back.
This basic stretch helps wonderfully for cumbersome shoulders. Typically extend your head and your neck vertebrae will shrink, so your eyes gaze forward or up as you bounce backward. You should ensure that your neck stays in the back for long. A simple technique to check is to put your fingers at the base of your neck and your fingers at the base of your skull from another hand. The space between the fingers of both hands should not diminish when stepping backward on your heels.
- Child’s pose with reach.
Kneel with the knees on your mat and rest your torso on the floor and on your thighs. Go forward with your arms. Keep that position for about 20-30 seconds.
Go left to elongate the right side of your spine for a longer time. Focus on your right rib cage breathing. Hold on for fifteen to twenty seconds, then move to the left of your back.
- Neck stretch.
Start with head over shoulders and be straight on your back.
Lower your chin and hold it 15-30 seconds toward your chest. Relax, raise your head up slowly.
Turn your chin to the ceiling and bring your skull base backward. Return to start position for 10 seconds, then repeat.
- Ninety-ninety stretch.
Turn one hip on the outside and the other hip on the inside. The 90/90 stretch incorporates both the hips in one action, inward and outward.
- T-spine foam roll.
With the roller horizontally arranged, set it on the level of the shoulder blade, hold the hands behind the head and take the elbows out of the side to support the head and neck. Stay in a neutral position, your head and neck with the spine, the eyes to the roof, and base on the ground floor. Spread back for a couple of seconds, then come back to neutral. Roll up the second level 5-10 times, then repeat the stretch. Repeat till your cage is at the bottom.
Sit upright on the ground with one leg kept straight. Bend the second leg on your knee and place the foot sole against your inner thigh. Then stretch out your arms and bend the waist over your straight leg. Go to the extent you can comfortably. Repeat with your other leg after 30 to 60 seconds.
Place your hands on a wall and step back into a short lunge, bend your foreleg and straighten your rear leg. Lean against the wall and push your back foot to the ground flat. Repeat on the opposite side after 30 to 60 seconds.
Some common mistakes you must avoid to get the best out of your workout and cooling down sessions:
- Taking unnecessary breaks
- Ignoring supporting tools
- Not using good quality equipment
- Forcing your body beyond the comfort zone
- Doing vigorous exercise from the first day itself
It takes a few minutes for cool-down workouts to change everything in your practice regime and promote your physique. Take the time to gently cool down when your workout session has been completed.