Just as it’s essential to get our heart rate up during exercise, it’s vital to make sure you’re giving your muscles and heart plenty of time to cool down. Instead of immediately showering or rehydrating, spend ten to 15 minutes after each workout to stretch and bring your body temperature and blood pressure levels back to their pre-exercise level.
A proper cool-down, like a warm-up before exercise, can minimize the risk of injury and reduce stress on muscles.
According to the Mayo Clinic, cooling down is especially crucial for endurance athletes because it helps regulate blood flow.
A good deep stretch and breathing exercises after training can also help recalibrate our state of mind.
As a general rule, those who do cardio can relax by simply slowing down for the last five to ten minutes of their routine. Here are several other ways to end a workout.
dead body pose
A common way to end a yoga session, Corpse Pose allows people to reconnect with the body and relax muscles. Lying still with your limbs relaxed and your eyes closed, the pose is a great way to read potential signs of injury or stress your body is sending. If you experience tension or discomfort in a particular part of your body during your three to five minute session, you can focus on stretching and massaging those areas.
After an intense cardio session, it’s helpful to gradually allow your heart rate and blood pressure to return to your pre-workout baseline. Jogging or walking for five to ten minutes is a great way to give your muscles time to cool down and rest. Rather than immediately stopping the movement, this allows for a more gradual recovery.
After HIIT or mobility exercises like Pilates or yoga, it helps to do several minutes of deep stretching, especially in the areas you focused on during the workout. Stretching reduces the release of lactic acid, which helps keep muscle soreness at bay.
It’s also a great way to start your workout as it helps improve your flexibility and significantly reduces the chance of injury.
Cortisol, the hormone most commonly associated with stress, is released during workouts. The stress hormone reduces protein synthesis and hinders tissue growth, which means that your intense training may actually work against your muscle-gain goals. Meditation is an effective way to lower cortisol and help you regain focus post-workout.