Posted on February 20, 2017 by Jenny Cromack

My previous blog was about preparing your body for training and how important it is to warm up correctly. Throughout the blog I mentioned how a warm-up gets pushed to the side and people don’t understand the advantages. If a warm-up gets ‘pushed to the side’, then an adequate cool down after training gets pushed off the hill. It’s easily done, if you have just worked really hard for an hour why would I benefit from doing a couple minutes worth of a cool down??? Or if you’re in a rush, it’s easier to cram those extra five minutes of your workout in and grab a quick shower than spend time cooling down correctly.

how to cool down correctly

So, to help, here is our guide about how to cool down correctly, and why it is important.

Here Is Why…

Delay Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short. DOMS are quite often the reason we make the excuse of not training on consecutive days. Cooling down appropriately after a session results in less soreness the morning after your training session and also improves the speed of the adaptation you gain after your training session. To attain both of these advantages all you need to do is follow these simple steps post training session.

Long Stretching (static)

Immediately after completing your training session it is vital you stretch the muscles used. Previous research stated that static stretching was sufficient as a warm-up, we now know this is not the case. Nevertheless, static stretches do now have their place at the end of a session. The stretch can be held for anything up to 30 seconds, to limit time constraints I would advise a minimum of 20 seconds for each stretch.

Blood Pooling

This term is used describe and explain the dizziness people may experience after intense exercise. After exercise blood can ‘pool’ in the muscle that has been predominantly in use during the activity. The muscle goes from requiring massive amounts of blood (oxygen), to needing no more than every other muscle in the body. If too much blood is going to an unnecessary source then there is going to be less for the vital organs, such as the brain. Lack of oxygen supplied to the brain can cause the delirious feeling we know as dizziness. A simple cool down can stop this from occurring.

Gradually Decreasing Exercise Intensity

A light jog or even walk will gradually decrease the amount of blood the body sends to the working muscles, much better than going from 100% to 0% instantly

The Cool Down

5 minute gradual decrease of exercise intensity, a light jog into an even lighter walk is the usual combination.

Long static stretches – make sure you stretch all of these muscle groups, plus any individual specific requirements

  • Gastrocnemius (calves)
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Groin/Hip flexors
  • Triceps/Biceps
  • Pectoralis major and minor
  • Posterior and Anterior deltoids
  • Posterior chain (muscles of the back)

If doing this at the end of each work out means you can training more often, with higher intensity and with better quality of movement, why would you not?? Get cooling down, and warming up, correctly and reap the benefits in your other training sessions!