Preparation for your next event begins immediately after you finish your current activity. Proper nutrition, hydration, and rest are all important aspects of recovery. One component which tends to get overlooked is the cool down. Taking 10 minutes following your activity to stretch your muscles will give you a tremendous advantage in recovery over those who go from a sprint to a seated position.
Cooling down the body is as important as warming it up. Physiologically, a cool down will help achieve the following:
- Slowly reduces heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature
- Prevents pooling of blood in the extremities – gradually brings it back into regular circulation
- Returns muscles to optimal length-tension relationships
- Facilitates the movement of nutrients used to repair trauma accrued during exercise
- Reduces the build up and aids in the removal of excess lactic acid
Below are some active movements which will help you with the cool down process after moderate or intense physical activity.
Light jog or brisk walk for 3-5 minutes
Walking on toes
Walking on heels
Walking knee to chest
Walking heel to bottom
Walking bent over toe touch
Walking lunge with overhead reach
Walking sumo squat
Walking arm circles
Walking arm across chest
Walking torso rotation
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