Finding Time for Fitness in a Busy Life

3 Benefits of Cool Down

3 Benefits of Cool Down

3 Benefits of a Cool Down

Cooling down after a workout is just as important as warming up. A cool down can be just stretches or even some easy yoga poses.

3 benefits of a cool down after a workout

  • Brings heart rate back down and slows breathing
  • Muscles return back to optimal at rest length
  • Prevents blood from pooling in lower extremities

Cool down stretches are used to reduce heart rate and breathing rates after exercise. It can help bring your heart rate back down to resting rate. They also help the muscles return back to the optimal length. Cool downs can help to prevent blood from pooling in the lower extremities. This is beneficial to make sure you do not feel light headed or dizzy when you complete your workout.

A great way to start a cool down is to continue moving while you are stretching. Then as your heart rate and breathing rate lowers you can stand still or lower to the ground for more stretches. You want to make sure you are not going from standing to lying down too fast because that could cause dizziness.


Simple Cool Down

Here is a simple cool down anyone can do. Ideally, you would want to hold each stretch for 30 seconds.

Side step with shoulder stretch:

Side stepping will help to slow down your heart rate slowly while still moving. Reach your arm across your chest and hold with the other arm. Repeat on each side.

Side step with tricep stretch:

Continue side stepping to gradually bring heart rate down even more. Lift arm above head and bend at the elbow aim to have this hand pointing straight down your back, support the elbow with the other arm to stretch tricep. Switch sides.

Arm circles:

Circle arms forward and then circle them backwards.

Quad stretch:

Reach behind your back and lift foot up to meet hand. Aim your knee directly to the ground and pull foot towards glutes until you feel a stretch in your quad. Switch to other leg. If you need support balancing, use a wall or a chair.

Roll down to forward fold (hamstring stretch):

Slowly roll down one vertebrae at a time until hanging forward.

Walk hands out to plank to get to runner’s stretch.

Runners stretch:

Lunge forward while keeping the back heel off the ground and the front knee over the ankle. Place arms on the inside of legs.

Hamstring/calf/inner thigh stretch:

Bend back leg and pull forward a bit. Straighten front leg, keep foot flexed to stretch calf and hamstring, point foot to stretch inner thigh

Switch sides:

Slowly roll up one vertebrae at a time to standing

2 deep breaths

After this 4-7 minute cool down, your workout for the day is done! And I bet that feels great!!


Foam Roller

Another way to cool down your muscles even more is to use a foam roller. A foam roller is used to get the “knots” out of the tight muscles. You can use a foam roller on your calves, TFL/IT band (side of the legs from the hip to the knees), adductors (inner thighs), piriformis (outside hip), the quads, the hamstrings, the lats (sides of backs) and the spine. To get the most out of the foam roller, you will want to roll it until you hit a tender spot, then you hold no that spot for 30 seconds. That 30 second hold will bring the muscle back to its optimal level of function.

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Disclaimer: I am a NASM certified personal trainer. I can give advice on what workouts would be great for just about anybody. If you have any medical conditions, please check with your doctor before starting a workout routine.

I may share food ideas and recipes, but I am not a licensed dietitian. I can show you foods I love to eat which may have helped me achieve my weight loss and health goals. I cannot provide meal plans.


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