More often than not, we forget to cool down after an intense workout. This oversight can result in various health risks, as the body that has been pounded and pushed to its limits isn’t given sufficient rest time. The difference between a preworkout warm up and a posttraining cool down is that you are looking to bring your heart rate down. Also, you are trying to eliminate lactic acid from muscle fibers and bring in oxygenated blood once again. Lastly, a cool down helps your body to stop losing too much sweat, which has vital sodium in them.

Directly after a workout, your heart is still pumping oxygenated blood throughout your system, with the strength dependent on the level of intensity of your training. In particular, cardiovascular training tends to put serious strain on vital organs. Thus, it is advised to cool down after doing such and regulate the pulse into a normal rate. One can achieve this by controlling breathing and walking around slowly to help the heart go at a slower pace. Once you’ve reached a steady heart rate, you begin static stretching.

The target heart rate for static stretching should be at 35 percent of its maximum. You start stretching from the ankle up to the head. Also, be sure to take fluids before doing static stretching as this helps your body re-fuel and re-hydrate.

CALVES

You can do this with or a wall in front of you. First, stand straight and place your hands on your waist. Put one foot forward and the other on it while keeping the foot flat on the ground. Push down on the rear leg until you feel the stretch in the calf. Be sure you are stretching the muscle just enough and not overdoing it. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds while breathing deeply. Repeat the same process for the other leg.

TRICEPS

Reach up with your right arm. Bend your right elbow to put your forearm down behind your head, your hand reaching between your shoulder blades. You can help stretch further your triceps by pushing down on your right elbow with your left hand, or by pulling it closer to your head. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds while breathing deeply. Repeat the same process for the other arm.

QUICK OVER-ALL STRETCH This static stretching position hits the chest area and legs in one move. Sit on a mat with your legs stretched forward. Lift your right leg and cross over to the opposite side of your left leg, Twist your body to the right with your left arm stretching forward and touching your left ankle. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds while breathing deeply. Repeat the same process for the other side.

CHEST Stand in an upright position. Put your arms behind your back and interlace your fingers. Pull your arms away from your body until you feel the stretch on your chest. Don’t forget not to overdo the stretching as that may cause more harm than good. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds while breathing deeply.

 

This article was originally published on Garage Magazine June 2013

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