We’ve all done it.
Hopped in the shower still sweaty from a run, walked straight out of the gym after finishing your last working set, or jumped on a call after a spin class. We have busy lives with work, school, and a million and one errands to be running, but neglecting your cool down could be stopping you from reaching your full fitness potential.
Your body needs to bring itself back to a resting state after the stress of exercise. If you do nothing else, be sure to include these three things in your cool down after your next workout.
I know, I know. This sounds obvious, right? But I bet if you asked around, lots of people would admit to not properly allowing their body to cool down after their workout (myself included).
It can be hard to justify spending an extra 5–10 minutes walking on the treadmill or around the block when you have other things to be doing, but it is so important! A few minutes of slow walking without an incline can help bring your body back to its pre-workout state. It will aid in your recovery and help you move on with your day faster.
Do you have a tennis or lacrosse ball lying around? These work just as well as any fancy foam roller you can buy. Spend a few minutes after your workout flushing out your legs and back. Your future self will be so grateful that you took the time to prevent muscle soreness and allowed your body to recover from whatever you just threw at it.
Whether you kick up into a handstand or simply lie with your legs against a wall, there are many benefits to inversion. Inversion exercises help increase lymphatic drainage and improve spine health. We spend so much of our day sitting or standing that it can be majorly beneficial to take the load off of our spine and joints. Post-workout is the perfect time to do it.
Grab your phone, set a timer for 2–5 minutes (or ten if you have the time), and do some inversion exercises. You can even answer emails or messages, check your social media, or write your grocery list while you are upside down. Multitasking for the win!
These three exercises are super simple but effective ways to optimize your recovery. They will give your body the cooldown it requires to recover fully from an intense workout and come back ready for your next session.
Let us know in the comments if you add any of these exercises to your cooldown routine!
About the author
Grace Bellman, Emory University BSc ‘21, NYU DPT’24
Grace is a senior at Emory University studying Anthropology & Human Biology, and she will be attending New York University next year to study Physical Therapy. Grace is also a NSCF Certified Personal Trainer and she is passionate about helping others improve their fitness and wellness knowledge. Grace is also committed to promoting a method of preventative healthcare, which allows people to take care of their bodies and prevent injuries before they happen. She is excited to be contributing to The Fit Atlanta blog and working as Marketing intern this semester.
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