How to cool down after a hard workout

How to cool down after a hard workout

July 21, 2016

 So you finished your daily workout. Now what? The cool down is an essential part of any fitness routine. Without a proper cool down, you'll have a harder time reaching your goals. Here are some ways to cool down after a workout.
  • Stretch: Generally people remember to stretch before a workout, but what about after? Stretching after your workout can also have many benefits to you, especially over time. Stretching helps promote strength, flexibility and decrease injuries. Just as stretching before your workout, stretching after your workout can be beneficial to your workout goals. These stretches should reflect your workout for the day. For example, if you did a spinning class you should concentrate on stretching your legs, glute, and wrists. If your workout tends to focus on the whole body, here is a 13-minute stretch for your total cool down.
  • Use the Cool Down Button or gentle exercises: You may have noticed that workout classes add in a cool down for you. They do this because during an intense workout your body goes through stress. Your heart rate will increase. Damage or strain can happen to your muscle fibers, ligaments, and tendons. Your body needs a moment to repair itself and assess the changes. If you work out on your own, one way to cool down is a gentle workout. Try low-intensity yoga, walking or swimming. If you workout on a treadmill or elliptical, use the cool down button to slow down your workout. This should last about 3-5 minutes at a minimum. The American Heart Association recommends slowing your heart rate to below 120 beats per minute during a cool down workout.
  • Hydrate: As you should hydrate throughout your workout, you should continue to do so after. Water can prevent dizziness and other discomforts after physical activity. It will also help bring your heart rate down and breathing to a normal pace. As a general rule, you should drink 8 ounces of water within 30 minutes after you finish your workout. However, depending on your age and perspiration level, the amount of water can increase.
  • Get a Massage: Your main goal after working out is to relax your body. This helps with your recovery efforts. One way to meet this goal is to get a massage after your workout. Okay, this may be expensive and unpractical for the average gym goer. Not to worry; massages can also be performed in the comfort of your home. Many people use a foam roller, like this one, to achieve similar results. Either option can relax you, decrease your heart rate, help with muscle damage and decrease injuries.
  • Deep Breathing: After a workout, you'll breathe harder than usual. It may feel uncomfortable. This is due to an increase in heart rate or your blood pooling. This is why it is important to concentrate on your breathing. It allows for your body to relax and return to normal function.
A post workout cool down will help you reach the "feel good" feeling after a workout. It may not make you less sore the next day, but it can help you continue your goal to a happy, healthy lifestyle. We recommend picking several of these cooldowns and combine them. Forming a makeshift cool down routine will help to reach your goals over time and help your body recover!