Let’s Take It Slow (Cooling Down)

You just completed a grueling activity, congratulations!  Now what?  Don’t stop just yet!  Take some time to cool down first.

Cooling down is the opposite of warming up—its goal is to gradually bring your body back to its normal state.  In my experience, cooling down helps me avoid getting sore the day after and it gives me the opportunity to improve my flexibility.  My workout does not feel complete if I did not cool down properly!  Here are some of the routines that I do before calling it a day:

I usually start my stretching from the top (head), going down (feet).  It starts with stretching the neck, ensuring that I stretch front and back, side to side.
It then goes to the shoulders, arms, and back, before proceeding to the sides of my body.
Followed by the legs, ensuring that the thighs, calves, and buttocks are covered.
The last parts involve getting down on the floor, sitting, reaching the legs, twisting, and even on all fours.

The images shown above are only a sample of what I do and are for illustration only.  Alternatively, you may also start from the feet up.  The duration of holding the stretch can be 30 seconds or more, but you may adjust it accordingly to your liking.

As you do these routines, your heart rate gradually lowers down and by the time you’re done, it should be pretty much back to normal.  As a bonus, you should observe your flexibility improve as you constantly do these routines!  Being strong is nice but being flexible enough to scratch your back is also nice to have!  At the very least, try to stretch the parts that you actively engaged.  You may shorten your hold if pressed for time but try to avoid missing cooldowns after each exercise.

Fitness Series

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