In opposition to a warm up, a cool down is geared toward slowing down the body’s pace and preparing it for rest. Like a warm up, the cool down is an often forgotten component of exercise and sport.  

Your average cool down should cover these two main areas:

Gradual decline from your activity 

  • If finishing with a more aerobic based sport or exercise session, try decreasing to a light jog for 1 minute, a brisk walk for 1 minute and a relaxed walk for 1 minute. This allows time for the heart to slowly decrease its pumping speed and blood pressure to normalise. A sudden stop after aerobic exercise can lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure, leading to light headedness or possibly fainting. 
  • If finishing a weights-based session, begin your cool down by putting your weights away and walking to lower your heart rate. A few bodyweight or dynamic exercises can be completed to place predominantly used joints through their ranges once more, such as those completed in the warm up. 

Stretching and breathing 

  • Taking time to hold a stretch for the muscles used in your session can decrease muscle cramping, enhance muscle length and decrease discomfort from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which can appear 1-2 days post-exercise and last for another 1-2 days or more. While stretching, take the time to breathe slowly and deeply while holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds. 

Check out our cool down stretch routine video and follow along! 

Click here 

What about foam rolling? 

Foam rolling is a great tool that can be added into a warm up routine to aid in joint and muscle preparation as well as part of the cool down process to aid in the stretching of muscles to help decrease soreness and improve muscle length. Foam rolling will be featured in part 3 of our injury prevention week. Stay tuned… 

If you have any questions about what might be appropriate for your cool down ask our practitioners at CSSM for some additional tips to add to your routine!