You’ve finished your session and are good to go home, right? Wrong. Completing a cool down should be integrated at the end of every session as a way to wind down, reduce your heart level and bring everything back from the intense level you’ve just been training at for the last 30 minutes or more.
Start your cool down by decreasing your heart rate back down to a pre-exercise level. This can be done by starting off with a higher tempo cardio based exercise, like running, and then slowly slowing down until you end up with a slow walk, by which your heart rate should have decreased considerably. This is good to keep blood flowing and reduce the likelihood of blood pooling, and therefore reduce the risk of delayed onset of muscular soreness (DOMs).
Completing a cool down should be integrated at the end of every session as a way to wind down and reduce your heart level
Next, you should complete the eight static stretches listed below. These are stretches performed with no movement, just a standing, or lying, hold to stretch out the muscle (approximately 15 – 30 seconds each). This will help to increase the range of motion about a joint and consequently allow your joints more freedom of movement and efficiency. This is key to be able to safely carry out a wide variety of exercises, poor flexibility or range of movement can limit what you can safely do.
The third aspect of the cool down shouldn’t necessarily be last, but we tend perform this through the cooling down process. This is to mental and physically relax your body. After you’ve put your body and mind through the stress of physical activity you need to relax and recover. Take time during your static stretches to perform slow deep breathes, listen to some soothing music, which tcan help to reduce stress and decrease muscle tension.
Here’s our recommended list of stretches which will cover both upper and lower body recovery:
This recommended cool down session should take anywhere up to 10 minutes, but you can take longer depending on how long you’re relaxing for and how much time you have to spare at the end of your session.
Once you’ve finished your cool down, we advise you grab a high protein post-workout snack which will help revitalise your muscles and aid recovery.