Once you finish a good workout, it’s tempting to move on to the next part of your day immediately. But the final component of any workout should be a proper cool down.
While a warm-up is essential for preparing your body for activity, a cool down is a critical part of starting the post-workout recovery process. Instead of jumping in your car right after a workout, take some time to cool down.
Here are a few elements of an effective cool down:
1. Take about five to ten minutes.
A short cool down is better than no cool down. But if you can take five to ten minutes, you’ll give your body time to return to a resting state. Your heart rate will slow down, and your body temperature will decrease, as well.
2. Keep moving.
When you finish a really intense workout, your first instinct might be to lay down on the floor. Even though this sounds like an excellent idea to your tired body, don’t do it. Laying down after a workout doesn’t really count as a cool down; it can make you dizzy and lightheaded. Instead, stay upright and slowly walk around the gym. Take several deep breaths and keep moving. You’ll feel better as your heart rate slows down, and your breathing returns to a normal rate.
3. Use the time to stretch.
Once your heart rate has slowed down, now is a great time to work on your flexibility. You’ve just flooded your muscles with plenty of oxygenated blood, and stretching is best when your muscles are warm. By incorporating a variety of stretches into your cool down routine, you’ll increase your flexibility and range of motion.
4. Stay mindful.
Once your workout ends, stay focused on the present moment. Pay attention to how your body feels and take several deep breaths. Keep your focus on your cool down and avoid letting your daily to-do list creep its way back into your mind.
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water after a workout, particularly if you sweat a lot. Staying hydrated promotes recovery and sipping water during your cool down helps improve the recovery process.
At Peak! Family Health and Wellness in Paradise, we focus on developing physically active lifestyles for all ages. To learn more about how to get started, contact us today.