After an exercise session or sport practice, you feel pretty out of breath and tired. A cool-down is an essential part of your workout that you should do no matter how much energy you have left. Cool-down exercises prevent sport injuries and help your body and mind wind down after exercising.
Why Is It Important to Cool Down After Exercising?
There are many benefits of cool-down exercises. First, your muscles need a good stretch after an intense workout to prevent tightening. Stretching also reduces muscle soreness and promotes elasticity. Specific exercises like walking encourage body temperature regulation and stabilize your heart rate.
Finally, your body develops toxic acids during exercise. One of these acids produced in your muscles is called lactic acid. When you do not stretch, this acid builds up and can cause discomfort. Stretching encourages muscular blood circulation, which reduces lactic acid production and buildup in the muscles.
4 Cool-Down Exercises to Prevent a Sport Injury
Here are four exercises to help you cool down after exercising.
1. Light Jogging or Walking
When you finish your workout, you want your heart rate to return to normal gradually. To do this, start your cool-down with a gentle jog and walk. This exercise will keep you moving at a pace that regulates your body temperature and stabilizes your heart. Perform the exercise for five or ten minutes.
For intense workouts:
- Begin jogging for two to three minutes.
- Slow down into a speed walk for one to two minutes.
- Finish with a standard to slow-paced walk.
For intermediate workouts:
- Do a slow jog for one to two minutes.
- Transition into a speed walk for two to three minutes.
- Finish with an average walking pace.
2. Knee-to-Chest Pose
For this exercise, ensure that your back is flat on the ground.
- Lay flat on the ground.
- Lift your legs and bend the knees at a ninety-degree angle.
- Draw one leg to your chest as you extend the other leg.
- Hug the knee to your body for 20 to 60 seconds.
- Alternate legs and hold your other knee to the chest for 20 to 60 seconds.
3. Shoulder Stretch
Make sure you give an equal amount of time to each arm for a good stretch.
- Raise one elbow, resting the hand behind your shoulder.
- Use your other arm to pull the elbow towards your head.
- Let your hand slide down your back as you pull the elbow.
- Once you feel the stretch, hold the elbow for 20 to 60 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
4. Cat Cow
Ensure that your breathing falls in line with your spinal movement.
- Position yourself on your hands and knees.
- Inhale as you arch your back and turn your face upward.
- Then, exhale as you round your back and drop your head so you face the floor.
- Alternate between these two moves for 20 to 60 seconds.
Contact Dr. Mufaddal Gombera to Schedule an Appointment
If you have suffered an injury to your shoulder, knees or hips, contact the office of Dr. Mufaddal Gombera. A fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gombera specializes in sports medicine and can help you achieve a speedy recovery. Book an appointment using our online contact form today!