Do You really Need a Workout Cooldown?
This is, it is not always necessary. Here is when to make the time and what to do.
You should never skip warming up – it is critical to avoid injury and to prep your heart, lungs, and muscles for work. But cooling down is necessary only after intense exercise that is above and beyond your typical routine. Think century rides, races, all-out pickup games. These tax the body in new ways and require a few minutes of specific stretches to help decrease inflammation and prevent soreness. Here are three moves, each geared to a different activity.
After cycling – Hours on the bike force your spine into a rounded posture. So it is important to open up the front of the body. Stand in a deep lunge in a doorway with arms raised in goalpost position against the frame; press weight into frame until you feel a stretch in your chest.
After running – Runners typically stretch hamstrings and quads but neglect the calves, leading to aches and injuries. The fix takes: Using a small massage ball, roll from the ankle to the back of the knee, pointing and flexing foot to knead any sore spots.
After a game – The fast lateral movements required for sports like tennis and basketball cause a lot of tightness in the hip flexors. To ease it, try this king cobra stretch: Lie facedown with palms on the floor at sides. Slide one knee out to side. Push off floor to straighten arms, keeping shoulder blades down and back, hips on floor, back arched. Squeeze glutes, and twist torso to side of bent leg. Hold 30 seconds; repeat on opposite side.