Most people have no problem warming up before they exercise, as it’s a well-known fact that warm-ups help prepare the body for intense exercise, prevent injury, and ensure better performance. However, not everyone appreciates cool-down exercises as much.
Some people who skip cool-down altogether head to the shower immediately after finishing their workout. This approach, of course, is not recommended since cool-down exercises benefit the body in several ways:
- They reduce lactic acid build-up, thereby preventing stiffness and cramping.
- They aid in minimising delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.
- They help with muscle recovery.
- They relax the nervous system.
- They promote flexibility and mobility.
- They help one's body temperature slowly get back to normal.
- They normalise the heart rate and slow down breathing, preventing the possibility of fainting or losing consciousness.
So, remember not to skip your cool-down session after exercising; more so, if you’ve just had a strenuous workout. And if you’re wondering which exercises are excellent for cooling your body down, here’s a list of the most effective cool-down exercises for you to try post-workout:
#1 - Seated forward-bend
- Sit on your exercise mat with your legs extended towards the front, and your arms relaxed at the sides.
- Lift your arms towards the front as you slowly fold forward, hinging at your hips in the process.
- Place your hands on your legs or toes or the floor.
- Hold this position for about a minute, and then release.
#2 - Child’s pose
- Do this yoga move using either a yoga or Pilates mat. Start from a tabletop position. To do this, you need to first come to all fours on the mat.
- Check to make sure your wrists are directly below your shoulders and your knees are directly below your hips.
- Roll your shoulders back, away from your ears.
- Avoid arching or dropping your spine.
- Relax and look down at the floor about 15 centimetres above your hands.
- Slowly sink backward to sit on your heels then extend your arms forward or to the sides of your body.
- Let your chest relax and fall heavily onto your thighs as you breathe deeply.
- While in this position, let your forehead rest on the floor.
- Keep this position for 1 to 3 minutes.
#3 - Standing Forward Bend
- Stand on your exercise mat, then gradually hinge at your hips and slowly bend forward.
- Allow yourself to relax as you lengthen your spine.
- Let your head fall heavily towards the floor, as you keep a slight bend in your knees.
- Place your hands flat on the floor.
- Hold your elbows in front of your thighs.
- As a variation, you can also keep your elbows positioned behind your thighs.
- You can also keep your hands intertwined behind your back.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
If you can’t reach or touch the floor, you can always modify how you stretch. You can place your hands on a block or any sturdy object.
#4 -Hamstring Roll
- Place your foam roller underneath your thighs while seated on the floor.
- Using your hands, gently lift your hips and then slowly roll, starting from your knees down to the glutes.
- If you want to increase pressure, just cross your right leg over your left.
- Start rolling one leg at a time, turning your left leg in and out.
- Repeat the same steps on the right leg.
- Do 2 to 3 reps on both sides.
#5 - Quadriceps Roll
- Start by lying face down on your forearms on a mat. Put your foam or massage roller under the tops of your thighs.
- Using your forearms, start shifting back and forth. Slowly roll up and down from the bottom of your hip until the top of your knee.
- If you want to add more pressure to your session, lift your left leg and start rolling on your right thigh first.
- Repeat the same steps on the left leg.
#6 - Ankle Circles
- Place a mini roller on top of a yoga block in front of you. Sit with one of your legs stretched out in front of you. Then position your ankle on top of the mini roller.
- Slowly turn your ankle in circles: 10 going clockwise and 10 going counterclockwise. Make sure to move only your foot and ankle, not your leg. Do the same on the other leg.
- You can have variations of the stretch by tracing out certain letters of the alphabet using your big toe.
#7 - Lower Back Release
- Position the spikey massage ball under the small of your back, with your knees slightly raised and your feet flat on the floor.
- To massage tight areas, use your legs to slowly move your body forward, backward, and side to side. Keep your back and neck relaxed, and breathe normally.
- Repeat this process for 15 to 90 seconds, as long as you feel comfortable and don’t feel any pain.
- As a variation, you can perform this exercise while standing. If there is a specific tight or sore spot, apply sustained pressure on that area for 15 to 60 seconds until the tightness subsides.
#8 - Massage-gun Massage
- After a particularly stressful workout, you can use a massage gun to relieve stiff or sore muscles. To do this, start by turning on your massage gun. Make sure not to let it get in contact with your body yet.
- Rest the massage gun on the sore part of your body and let it float there for a few seconds.
- After about 30 seconds to a minute, let the massage gun glide across the muscle.
- Make small movements with the massage gun — the slower, the better. Allow the massage gun to linger on areas that feel especially tense or stiff for a few seconds. There’s no need to add extra pressure.
- Continue gliding the massage gun in areas that need relief. Make sure to relax and breathe deeply as you go along.
- Massage guns are a relatively newer tool. They’re excellent for alleviating post-workout stress, especially after intense exercises or events like marathons and triathlons.
Never Miss Another Cool-Down Session
Cool-down exercises are recommended by fitness professionals for a reason. They help the body normalise after a particularly intense workout, aid in post-workout recovery, and more.
To experience the benefits of cooling down, make sure to do all or any of these exercises after your next workout session.
Cool Down at Home
Orbit Fitness has a wide range of stretching aids to help you get the most from your home cool-down routine.
Talk to our team today to find the right product to support your fitness goals.