The main purpose of the cool down is to promote recovery and return the body to pre-workout levels. During a strenuous workout your body goes through a number of stressful processes. Muscle fibers, tendons, and ligaments go through a beating, and waste builds up within your body. The cool down will help with relieving some of the effects of post exercise muscle soreness and will support you in being ready for your next run.
There are three key elements, or parts, which should be included to ensure an effective and complete cool down. They are;
1. Gentle exercise and movement
2. Low intensity, long hold, & static stretching
All three elements work together to repair and replenish the body after exercise. For example, for a runner, 10- 15 minutes of jogging or walking. Followed by about 10 minutes of static stretching, which will support you in lengthening your muscles that have been working and contracting so hard. As you are stretching, make sure you are incorporating deep cleansing breaths. Hydration and refueling is imperative after your workout.
Here is an example of a cooldown you can use in HFM:
● 10 to 15 minutes of easy exercise. Be sure that the easy exercise resembles the type of exercise that was done during your workout. Your workout involves a lot of running, so cool down with easy jogging or walking.
● Include some deep breathing as part of your easy exercise to help oxygenate your system.
● Follow with about 10 to 15 minutes of low intensity, long hold
(30 to 60 seconds) static stretching. The aim here is not necessarily to improve your
flexibility; It’s to gently lengthen out those muscles that have been constantly working.
● Refuel. This part of the cool down can be done as you perform the other two parts. Both fluid and food are important. Drink plenty of water. The best type of food to eat straight after a workout is a food that is easily digestible.
So for your next run or exercising you do, incorporate a cooldown routine. This will allow your body to start its recovery process and for you to be more proficient with your next workout.