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Monday, April 21, 2014

How to Cool Down After Working Out



A well thought out cool down can maximize the results of a good workout. Proper cool down routines should take no more than 5-15 minutes, but the benefits will stick with you for much longer. Some of the perks that come with regularly cooling down after exercise include:
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Less delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
  • Stress relief
  • Faster recovery between workouts
When designing your cool down, you should incorporate a light form of cardiovascular exercise, static stretching, hydration, and nutrition.
Light Cardio
If an exerciser comes to a sudden stop while participating in intense physical activity they run the risk of having blood pooling in their limbs. Blood pooling can result in a drop in blood pressure which can have unpleasant symptoms like dizziness and fainting. In order to prevent blood pooling, reduce the intensity of your activity 3-5 minutes before coming to a complete stop. For example, if you are sprinting on a treadmill, reduce your speed to a brisk walk.
Static Stretches
Static stretching involves holding a position. When you have reached into a stretch as far as you comfortably can, it's time to hold the stretch. The reason is that after you've finished working out your muscles are very warm and pliable. Take advantage of this condition by using static stretches to increase your range of motion. Select a stretch to target each of the muscle groups you worked out and hold each stretch for two, 30 second bouts. For example, if you worked your chest while doing push ups, try this TRX Chest stretch:
TRX Chest Stretch
  1. Stand with your feet together, facing away from the anchor point with the straps of the TRX at their lowest point.
  2. Hold handles at shoulder height with elbows bent and pointing down.
  3. Step right leg forward and extend arms out into "T" position. Tuck tailbone under by squeezing left glute and activate back muscles.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Switch legs and repeat.
Hydration
When you workout you lose water through sweating and other physiological processes. It's important to replace the fluid lost during your workout because it can decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery. To determine how much water you've lost, weigh yourself before and after your workout. The difference will represent a change in your water weight. To replenish you should drink that weight in liquids, plus 25 to 50%.
Nutrition
There's an abundance of research available on the topic of post workout nutrition. The average exerciser shouldn't overthink it. The simple fact is that exercise results can be bolstered by good nutrition. The meal (or meal replacement) you consume after a workout should include a high quality protein source and some carbohydrates.
A 10 minute investment in a cool down can yield a high return. A little light cardio, some static stretching, hydration, and good nutrition will help you get the most out of every workout.
Erika Volk is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. She specializes in TRX training, fitness travel, and Online coaching. Erika designs intelligent nutrition and exercise programs for clients with a variety of goals and limitations. Visit her website at http://www.erikavolkfitness.com to learn more about how Erika can help you make the most out your workout.


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