Its all to easy when you’re at the gym and in a rush to leave without thinking to cool down, most of us know the importance of a warm-up but many of us including myself sometimes either forget to cool down or ignore it because we don’t think it’s as important as a warm-up.

Cooling down exercises are a crucial part of our workout, they help to lower the risk of injury and prevent blood pooling in the muscles, if performed properly cooling down exercises will prevent dizziness and cramps.

The main goal of a cool down is to lower body temperature, breathing rate and the heart rate to pre-exercise levels. When our workout ends it’s important to keep up our activity at a slower rate, stopping exercise abruptly can cause blood pooling.

If you have been working hard in the gym it’s a good idea to follow your workout with a light jog on the treadmill or a few minutes on an exercise bike at a slow pace, followed by some stretches.

Cooling Down Tips

  • Target the key muscles that have been used in your workout with appropriate stretches, stay in the stretch for 15 seconds.
  • Allow five minutes of low-intensity exercise after your workout, this can be exercise bike, walk, slow run etc.
  • Some people like to do two things at once, you can stretch your arms whilst stretching your legs.
  • Stretching shouldn’t be painful but you should be able to feel the tension in the muscle being stretched.

Cooling Down Stretches

Upper Back Stretch

A very useful stretch that mobilizes the muscles in your upper back.

Interlock your fingers palms facing away from you. Bring your hands to chest level and extend your arms, locking out your elbows and pushing your shoulders forward.

 

Shoulder Stretch

A fairly easy stretch to master, but don’t think it’s not effective, this stretch specifically works the muscles around the shoulder joint. Particularly useful for weightlifters.

Extend one arm across your body and place your other forearm over its elbow. Apply gentle pressure until you feel tension in the shoulder of your extended arm. Repeat on the other side.

Lat Stretch

An excellent stretching exercise that specifically targets the latissimus dorsi muscles, this stretch is useful for weightlifters, rowers, and field athletes.

Stand facing upright support strong enough to take your weight, grip the support with one hand and lean back, push with your leg and pull with your arm, switch arms and repeat.

Walking Lunge Stretch

The walking lunge stretch places most emphasis on your quads, but this simple multi-purpose, highly effective stretching exercise will also mobilize the whole of your hip area.

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and shoulders, hips, and feet inline. 2. Now take a long step forward. Drop down and bend your knees. 3. Step through with your trailing leg. Keep your body upright and your head up. 4. Step forward and change legs, maintaining your body posture.

Hamstring Stretch

It’s a well known fact that tightness in your glutes can often manifest itself as lower back pain after a workout.  This very useful stretch works your glutes as well as the muscles of your lower back and hamstrings.

1. Sit on the floor with one leg straight ahead of you and one bent behind, keeping your hips and shoulders in line . 2. Lean forward gradually to your extended foot, and pull it gently toward yourself.

Calf Stretch

A must stretch if you have just done a calf workout in the gym or if you are a runner.

From a standing position take a good few steps forwards. Keep your feet hip-width apart. Bend the leading leg, keeping your knee over your foot.