Skipping your cool down and stopping short can stunt muscle repair and boost your chance of being supersore. It’s also dangerous because the blood that was sped to your legs during exercise can pool there if you stop abruptly, causing dizziness or a fainting spell. Follow these quick and simple reboots by Shape fitness director Jaclyn Emerick to get the full benefit of your workouts.
#1 Ease up
To decrease your heart rate gradually, spend about three minutes doing an easier version of your workout. If you ran, jog and then walk. At the end of spinning class, lower your resistance and speed. If you did a strength workout, wind down with a few dynamic stretches. Just keep moving.
#2 Flow, then hold
Take another three minutes or so to move through some easy yoga poses such as downward dog, runner’s lunge, and child’s pose. Now is also the time to do static stretches (those you hold for 30 seconds or longer). Your muscles are warm after exercise, so they’re more pliable.
Drink water to replace fluid lost through sweat, and eat easily digestible food that has protein and carbs in it to repair muscle damage while you cool down. You’ll need more of both if your workout was lengthy and intense.