14 Best Cool Down Exercises to Recover and Stretch After a Workout: There are times when we don’t want to do much else after a hard workout. Are you stretching or foam rolling? I guess I’ll do it later. Which means never most of the time. I also know that my mind is already thinking about the next thing on my list after working out. It doesn’t matter what I think as I pack up my stuff. I already did the work that counts.
Even though it’s tempting to skip them, don’t. This is especially important if you want to keep your body flexible and injury-free.
Matthew Greenfield, P.T., D.P.T., a physical therapist from Excel Physical Therapy, says, “Cool downs after any activity are important.” “Let’s say you run and your heart rate goes up for a while.
It’s hard on the body to stop all of a sudden. Additionally, if you do a lot of power training, your muscles will shrink on their own. There is something you need to do to keep them from getting as tired.
14 Best Cool Down Exercises to Recover and Stretch After a Workout
When you stretch or do light mobility exercises for 5 to 10 minutes after working out, you give your body a chance to return to its normal resting state. This will help your body heal overnight, so the next day you can start a new workout without being as sore, or at least feel less pain while doing other things.
Still, don’t do the splits like Simone Biles during your cool down. “This is not about being more flexible,” says Greenfield. “You’re trying to get back to your baseline.”
It’s important to be gentle and do moves that are right for the workout you just did when you relax. Like, if you just ran two miles, work out your legs. Do a chest and shoulder stretch if you did an upper body exercise.
Here are some of our favorite stretches and the parts of the body they work on to help you choose the right ones. So take a deep breath, calm down, and let your muscles loosen up. It’s good for your body.
Also see: Workout Routines For Bad Backs
To do it, get on all fours with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Breathe in to get into “cow”: As you stretch your back, look up at the sky. Hold on for a second or two. Let out a breath as you say “cat”:
As you push your hands into the ground, round your back. It’s okay to let your shoulder blades move away from each other and your head fall to the floor as you push. Hold for a second or two, and then go back to the cat. You can do as many cat cows as you want and go at your own speed.
To do it, sit down and straighten your legs in front of you. Now cross your right leg over your left leg. Bend your right knee so that your right foot stays flat on the ground.
Stand tall and put your right hand behind your back. As you breathe in, lift your left arm. Pull your arm over your right leg as you let out a breath. Hold for as long as you want, and keep breathing. As you feel yourself sinking into the stretch, make it deeper. After that, switch sides.
Lower Back Rotational Stretch
To do it, lie on your back with your back to the wall. Start with your feet flat on the floor and your knees raised. Next, keep your shoulders on the ground and turn your knees as far to the right as you can without moving your shoulders.
Hold for a short time, and then switch. Feel free to go at your own pace and repeat as many times as you want. Just make sure you love both sides the same amount.
Behind-the-Back Forearm Grip Stretch
To do it, find a nice place to sit or stand. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and push your shoulders down and away from your ears. Put your hands behind your back and grab each wrist (or elbow, if you can): this will help you lower yourself. Hold for as long as you want.
There are a few different ways to get into this stretch. To start, you can get an extra leg stretch by starting in a down dog position: Begin on all fours, and as your feet hit the ground, lift your butt up and back. Keep your head through your arms.
Take a deep breath. Bring your hips down toward the floor, but don’t let them go all the way down. Then, look up at the sky. Put your feet flat on the ground. Hold. You can also get into this pose while sitting down: Your hands should be by your waist and your elbows should be bent. Press up as you lift your upper body off the ground. Also, lift the legs up a bit and hold.
Plank to Scorpion Reach
What to do: Do a plank with your arms straight. Breathe in and bring your right knee as close as you can to your left wrist.
Next, let out a breath and move your right leg back and forth behind you while lowering your head through your arms. Keep your breath steady and do as many reps as you want, then switch legs and do it again.
How to do it: Put your feet flat on the floor while sitting on a table. As you lay your torso on your thighs and sink your butt to your feet, breathe in and out. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Hold on and breathe.
Sumo Squat Stretch
Stand with your feet farther apart than your hips. Get down on your knees and bring your hands inside your thighs, just above your knees. Hold the knees apart.
Put your hands together in front of your chest. Roll your left hand over your right hand, then your right hand over your left in a circle. You can keep rolling in this way for as long as you want, then change directions.
Overhead Shoulder Stretch
To do it, stand up, take a deep breath in, and then reach both arms up over your head. Put your left arm behind you and grab it with your right hand. As you pull that arm down, let out a breath. Remember to keep your shoulders back and away from your ears. Hold, take a deep breath, and then switch sides.
Standing Figure Four
What to do: Keep your head up. Put your weight on your right leg and keep your right knee slightly bent. After that, put your left foot on top of your right knee. Sit in this pose with a slight forward lean until you feel a stretch. Hold on and breathe.
Do it again on the other side. If you need extra help keeping your balance, do this one in front of something high, like a chair or table. You can do this on the floor too (see here).
The way to do it is to stand up and step your left leg forward and your right leg back. Your left knee should be bent so that it is right over your left ankle. Don’t bend the back leg. Until you feel a stretch, lower your hips to the ground. Hold. Change sides.
Standing Forward Bend
To do it, stand up straight and breathe in. Slowly bend over and reach for your toes as you let out your breath. If your hamstrings feel really tight, bend your knees a little. Hold for as long as you want.
Standing Quad Stretch
Put your weight on your left leg as you stand. Bring your right heel up to your bum and put your right hand on the top of your right foot. Stand with your left arm stretched up toward the sky and your eyes fixed on something in front of you.
To make the stretch and hold stronger, squeeze your right glute muscles. Do it again on the other side after switching.
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