So now that you understand why it’s important to bust a move before you bust a sweat (Warm-up), it’s also important to understand a cool-down post exercise.
A cool down is equally important as the warm-up.
5 Important facts about a cool down:
- The cool down brings the body back to homeostasis (when our internal body seeks balance and equilibrium).
- Blood flow and breathing rates return to preconditioning levels.
- Allows for psychological recovery from the session. A debrief can be a useful tool to talk about goals and performance. This is particularly useful if you are working out with another person or if you have a personal trainer/coach. Writing in a journal post workout is also an option.
- The cool down phase is a good time for static stretching or a flexibility program because the muscles are warm.
- Nourish your body with a healthy nutritious snack and water to stay energised and hydrated.
What to include in the cool down:
This part is similar to the warm-up. The aim is to slowly bring the body back to a resting state. Slow it down. Decrease intensity. Stick with basic general movement like running, walking, or cycling.
Stretching helps to minimise muscle soreness and tight muscles post exercise. It is a great way to maintain and increase muscle flexibility. Post workout is the best time to work on flexibility and stretch because the muscles are warm and injury risk is low. Stretching and flexibility can be performed in a variety of ways using a variety of methods. Static stretching is great method to include at the end of any workout. It is easy and safe.
Try this cool down. Don’t forget to print off our handy Cool Down poster to keep you motivated.
Walk for 3-5 minutes.
Tip: Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.
Chest stretch – Join hands behind back. Roll shoulders backward. Feel the stretch across the chest. Breath in and out for 30 seconds.
Back stretch – Join hands in front of chest. Roll shoulders forward. Feel the stretch across the upper back. Breath in out for 30 seconds.
Triceps stretch – Arm over head. Support with opposite hand. Feel the stretch along the back of the upper arm. Alternate to other side.
Quad stretch – Bend knee and lift leg towards your backside. Hold foot with hand. Feel the stretch down the front of your thigh. Breath in and out for 30 seconds.
Groin stretch – Take a wide stance. Bend one knee. Lean towards the bent knee. Place hands on knee for support. Feel the stretch on the inside of the upper leg. Breath in and out for 30 seconds.
Childs Pose – Rest arms out in front or by your side. Relax. Stay for as long as you need.
Illustration by Lexi Keelan.