Running is an intense cardiovascular activity that is sure to burn more calories and tire you down. It is normal for runners to complete a run and immediately want to crash down and rest, but hear us out here. While the idea of drinking ice cold water and resting sounds ideal, a cool-down routine is what you need to be doing even though it is uncomfortable at the time.
Now you may ask “why?”. According to Sports physiologists, a proper cool-down of the body is extremely important in muscle relaxation and recovery. This aids in future running activity and provides the body with ample flexibility and relieves soreness. The cool-down routine ensures that the heart activity is returning to the baseline gradually and elevates your future running performances.
So here we have 5 very easy and dynamic cool-down routines for your body to get wider motion and flexibility. You could incorporate these exercises daily after your run and reap the benefits for yourself.
1. Brisk walking/gentle walking
While you enter the zone of cool-down, you could initially start walking briskly for 3-5 minutes. This will bring down the heart rate gradually and prepare your body for the cool-down routine as a whole. The transition sequence is from running to brisk walking and finally to the sweet and easy effort walking. The sudden changes in heart activity could be avoided along with consequences like light-headedness.
2. Hip circles in a lunge
This is a combination of dynamic stretches and movement. The movement focuses on the lower body like legs, thighs, hip flexor which are worked up all through the run.
How to do:
- Stand tall with both of your feet together.
- Step forward one leg while lowering the opposite leg and get into a lunge position.
- Once you are in the position, circle your hips in a clockwise direction a couple of times.
- Be sure to repeat this in a counterclockwise motion.
- Continue the movement in the opposite leg again.
3. Lunge Twists
This exercise is to relax your upper body along with the lower body. The torso is twisted and released from any pressure that is built up while running.
How to do:
- Get into the lunge position with the leg forward and resting the opposite knee on the floor.
- You need to keep your (opposite of the leg) hand on the ground for balancing the body.
- You need to lower the (same as the leg) hand to the floor next to bring your elbow to it.
- Rotate the torso to the (same side as the leg) while extending the arm toward the ceiling.
- You could continue the movement for 30 seconds and shift to the opposite side.
4. Pigeon pose
This yoga pose is beneficial for the hip flexor and lower back muscles as it stretches and alleviates the stress build-up in the area.
How to do:
- Bend your right knee while crossing your leg beneath the torso. You need to extend your left leg behind you.
- Be sure to lean your body towards and over your right leg. Keep and rest your forearms on the ground.
- Maintain your hips square with the ground and deepen the stretch.
- You could continue this for 30 seconds and repeat over the other side.
5. Downward dog
This yoga pose is known to stretch the lower body all through calves, hamstrings. It also strengthens the upper body, improves the blood flow and posture, and the footing of your body which is extremely important for a runner.
How to do:
- You could get into a plank position with straight hands and legs.
- The push back your hips by lifting them and straightening your arms and legs.
- Make sure to keep your head in alignment with your torso and look back without straining your neck.
- Press onto your heels deeply.
- Continue the movement for 30 seconds
Also read : Why It’s Important to Warm Up Before Your Run?