You might be tempted to pack up and head straight for the door after your workout. However, it is imperative that you cool down before you head to the car. A few minutes of simple, gentle stretching or exercise can help bright your body temperature down, release lactic acid from your active muscles and return your heart rate to its resting rate.
A cool-down routine can also be highly effective on a psychological level, taking you back to your normal day after your adrenaline-fuelled workout. All you have to do is follow these simple three steps once you have completed your workout. Your body and mind will notice a change in the way you feel post-workout, and this is something that is important for your overall health and wellbeing.
Drop Your Last Exercise to a Lower Intensity
At high intensity levels, your body will divert blood to the muscles that you are currently working on. If you fail to drop the intensity of your workout after intense exercise, you might find yourself start to feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Have the blood coursing back to your brain and heart with a few minutes of easy walking after a heavy workout or run. Even just a few simple walking lunges can assist the blood in moving around the body once again. Focus on deep breathing as you do it – this helps to bring fresh oxygen to your body and muscles.
If you have undertaken strength exercises, you might want to stretch for a while. People swear by it as an effective method of releasing the increase of lactic acid in the muscles after they’ve engaged in a strenuous workout.
Stretching goes a long way to improve your flexibility, so it’s important to take a few minutes of hamstring, quad and shoulder stretches, toe-touching, as well as some techniques to open up the chest. A few sun salutations will address most of your major muscle groups as well as relieve some of the tension in the body.
Water is important for keeping your body temperature regulated. It also maintains our blood volume and ensures the muscles are working healthily. We also tend to sweat a lot of water out during a workout, and this can lead to nausea, creams and headaches if not replenished.
Once you have finished a gym session, you must be sure to have a big drink of water rehydrate the body. You should also keep sipping throughout the day (this goes without saying). Protein shakes and snacks are also a good option for high carbs and protein intake – this will stimulate muscle growth and enhance recover. Muesli, yogurt or rice cakes with peanut butter are a great option for getting in that protein post-workout.
Just remember, a solid, weight-punching workout is great for the body, but for it to be fully effective you have to warm down once the workout is complete.