Just as you have to warm up before you do a workout, after the workout is over, you need to cool down your body. This is important as your heart beat is much faster than normal and the temperature of your body is higher. When you cool down after exercising, your body returns back to resting mode. Do not make the mistake of trying to cool down too fast, you can pass out or experience a sick feeling.
What is recommended to cool down
As mentioned above your heart rate requires to be brought back to a more relaxed state after a fitness training session. Cooling down has to be done for both strength training and cardio exercises. After you do a cardio workout, you should slowly jog for at least 5 minutes. If you have been lifting weights try doing a few static and dynamic stretches. Some good tips for cooling down are given below:
- Do about 10 minutes of dynamic or static stretching
- Remember to breathe and hydrate
- Walk a bit until you feel your heart rate has reached a more relaxed level
After doing cardio or strength training, your muscles get warmed up and become more pliable and elastic. At this stage you will find you are most flexible. Besides decreasing the chances of injury, stretching also helps the circulation in the key areas of the body and helps in the healing process when the muscles start to break down. Stretching also decreases any soreness in the calves, hamstrings and quads the day after.
Importance of drinking water
Each movement you make drains water from the body during fitness training. So after a heavy workout you have to replenish your water requirement in the body. It helps to lessen the soreness in the muscles and it will increase your flexibility and strength.
The goodness of protein
After working out a good protein shake drink will do wonders for you. Drink it about half an hour of training while your metabolic window is still open. It is the time when the muscles react better to absorbing any nutrients. A protein shake will also add protein and carbohydrates back into the tired muscles helping them to rebuild and become stronger.
Nothing like a good massage
A massage feels good at any time. However, it has been proved that after doing strenuous workouts, muscle recovery can be speeded up by at least 50 pct, and if there is any muscle damage or swelling, the same can be reduced. What a massage does is it breaks up any knots or adhesions. A foam roller can also prove helpful. Placed on the floor, you can use the weight of your body to roll your back and neck on it. A massage can also create good emotional and psychological benefits.
So be careful. Just because you have completed your planned fitness training for the day (running, exercising etc.) it does not mean you can close shop and go home. You need to look after those tired muscles which could be breaking down. To recover from this phase use the above cooling down methods which are essential to repair tissue and muscles, rebuild your strength and make overall recovery.