Stay Cool by Cooling Down

Posted on November 23, 2010


I have always been notorious for not taking the time to cool down (or warm up for that matter). As soon as my trainers are on, I just want to run free and as soon as I stop, I’m usually dashing to my next commitment of the day. But this complacent approach is starting to take its toll. I’ve forgotten what it feels like not to feel stiff first thing and the flexibility I once enjoyed doing yoga is now nothing but a distant memory.

So I for one am planning to start cooling down properly, and you, if you regularly experience muscle soreness after training, should do same. After all, it’s not complicated nor does it take that much time. No matter how tight our schedules are, fitting in a cool down should be a priority.

Tips to make you cool

• Ideally take three to ten minutes to cool down depending on how strenuous your session was

• If you’ve been running, the simplest and one of the best approaches is simply to walk for three to five minutes at a normal pace, allowing your body and heart rate time to recover

• The key to a good cool down is that it should mirror the exercise that you just did – this makes sure you target the muscles you have been working

• A good way to consider the art of cooling down is to think of driving a car … would you rather slam on the brakes and come to a screeching halt or slow down gradually and come to a nice slow, full stop? Your body is no different. If you suddenly stop exercising, you will be inflicting exercise “whiplash” on to your body

• Cooling down properly should make a huge difference in how you feel post training as well as how you feel the following day

• The final step of cooling down is often the most overlooked … replenishing your body. This means rehydrating to get your fluid levels back up and having a snack, a healthy one, to work on your blood sugars

By coasting to a stop and refueling properly, your body will reap the benefits. I know mine will and I know my physio will need to see me a little less and my insurance provider will wonder why I’ve gone AWOL!



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