How to Cool Down After a Workout

by Stanislav Danilov

Even if you warmed up correctly pre-workout and then performed all the exercises that you had planned for the day, your workout session still isn’t over! There’s one last thing to do if you want your muscles to recover and start the repair process properly, and that’s cooling down.

Right after you’re done with any kind of workout, you should take a few minutes to let your body cool down and go back to its usual resting state. This will help release all the tension that your muscles accumulated during the exercise and reduce lactic acid build-up to prevent stiffness and any uncomfortable muscle cramps. Plus, it’ll help you be ready for the next workout!

So, to help you take care of your body post-workout, we’re here with a few tips on how to cool down effectively and the different methods that you can use. This will help reduce or completely avoid that unwanted muscle soreness the morning after any kind of physical activity!

Go on a walk or jog a few laps

When you’ve just finished your workout, your muscles are still fired up and very tense, so suddenly stopping all movement can cause cramping and soreness later on. The best thing to do right after a workout is to walk it off or do some light jogging for a few minutes.

By keeping your body moving at a slower pace for a short while, you’ll help your muscles gradually release all the built-up tension and get your heart rate back to normal before you sit down to catch your breath.

If you just finished an intense cardio session, light jogging might be the better alternative since your heart is probably still racing, but after a heavy lifting session walking a few laps while swinging your arms is more than enough. And if you’re at the gym, simply jump on the treadmill for a couple of minutes!

Do some static stretching

When you’re done walking or jogging, your next step should be stretching! Static stretching allows you to do a full-body cool-down routine as well as target specific muscles that you may have used more on a specific day. For example, during legs day you can perform a few static leg and glute stretches on top of regular full-body stretches to help relieve your lower-body muscles.

If you’re not familiar, static stretching is simply holding a stretch without moving for a set amount of time, typically between 30-60 seconds. Not only is it effective at decreasing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but it’s also a great way to improve your overall flexibility and range of motion for better workouts!

Now, you can perform your static stretches with just your body weight, but if you want to make the most out of your cool-down session, try cooling down with a long resistance band! A band will allow you to control the amount of tension in your muscles and help you achieve deeper stretches with less effort, further improving your flexibility.

Here are three banded stretches that you can try, plus two more static stretches that you can do without a resistance band:

  • Banded quad stretch
  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and bend your left knee, so that your left foot is pointing back. Wrap a long resistance band around your left ankle and hold it with your hands so that it goes along your back.

    Begin the stretch by pulling from the band, stretching your quad in the process. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds before switching to the opposite leg.

  • Banded hamstring stretch
  • Lay face-up on the floor and wrap a long resistance band around your left foot. Lift your left leg as much as you can without bending your knee while you hold the other end of the band with your hands.

    Begin the stretch by pulling from the band while you stretch your hamstring, making sure you don’t bend it. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then switch to the opposite leg.

  • Banded side stretch
  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and loop a long resistance band around your left foot, so that you’re stepping on it. Grab the other end of the band with your left arm and extend it upright.

    Begin the stretch by bending the left side of your body and your left arm to the right side while pulling the band. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and switch to the opposite side.

  • Cross-body stretch
  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and drive your right arm across your chest so that your right hand is pointing to your left. Hold your right arm where the elbow is with your left hand.

    Begin the stretch by pulling your right arm toward your chest with your right hand as you stretch your arm and the right side of your torso. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before switching to the opposite arm.

  • Abdominal stretch
  • Lie face-down on the floor, keeping your legs separated at a comfortable distance. Place your hands on the floor at each side of your chest and press up to lift your upper body.

    Begin the stretch by holding this position, lifting your torso as much as you can while you stretch your core. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

    Try foam rolling

    After you’re done stretching, try foam rolling your muscles! You can do so without having to stretch beforehand, but doing one after the other will truly help your muscles relax after a tough workout session.

    This technique is known as myofascial release and it consists of applying pressure to your muscles with a foam roller in order to increase blood flow and reduce the post-workout lactic acid build-up. Not only is it effective at reducing the possibility of soreness, but it also feels great on your muscles!

    That said, any kind of massage is good to help your muscles cool down after a workout, so you can simply use your hands to release some of the tension from your muscles. If you do want to try foam rolling, there are many options to choose from, such as balls with spikes or foam cylinders that you can use on your muscles as if you were rolling bread dough. Your choice!

    Practice some yoga 

    Have you tried all of the above and still feel like your muscles could use some more relaxation? Then you should definitely add yoga to your cool-down routine.

    Pairing traditional yoga poses with deep breathing will not only help you lower your heart rate and release tension from your muscles but also help you achieve mental relaxation after an intense workout routine. After all, your body is not the only thing that gets tired!

    The best thing about yoga is that you don’t need any equipment for it, just a yoga mat or a comfortable surface where you can perform your yoga poses. You can also practice yoga at any time of the day, not just to cool down! Whether it’s early in the morning or before you go to sleep, you can always benefit from a good yoga session.

    Drink plenty of water

    This one should be a given, since drinking enough water is something you should do before, during, and after a workout – plus throughout the day, every day!

    During your workouts, you lose a lot of water through sweat, especially if it was an intense training session such as a cardio workout. To help your muscles recover properly post-workout, you need to replenish those water levels in your body by drinking plenty of water. Plus, it feels refreshing and helps your body cool down in a literal sense by lowering your body temperature.

    Speed up your recovery by cooling down properly

    You get to decide how long to cool down after a workout, but try to make it at least 5-10 minutes, no matter which methods you choose. The important thing is to keep your body moving for a short while after each workout to help release all the built-up tension in your muscles and prevent injuries in the future.

    And if you don’t own a long resistance band for your cool-down exercises yet, check the UPPPER Long Resistance Band Collection! Available in four resistance levels – Light, Medium, Heavy, and Extra Heavy – these resistance bands are designed with comfort and durability in mind for all your workout needs!

     

    >> Shop UPPPER Long Resistance Bands <<

     

     

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