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Cooling Down Exercises for Preventing Personal Injury at the Gym



Exercise is beneficial in preventing illnesses. However, we must also know how to exercise correctly. Ideally, one should warm up before exercise; likewise, one must cool down after a workout to prevent personal injuries.

So why is cooling down necessary? Cooling down after a workout session allows the body to adapt from an exerting to a resting state. We know that during exercise, a lot of things happen within our bodies. Our heartbeat increases, our breathing increases, our body burns fuel, and we sweat a lot.  In addition to this, our muscle fibers contract and expand during exercise, and this creates stress. Stress predisposes to tissue injury; thus, we must allow our bodies to cool down before resting.

So, how do we cool down to prevent personal injuries? Cooling down involves slowly decreasing your exercise intensity from running hard to brisk walking or easy jogging. Ideally, one should cool down for about 5 to 10 minutes after an intense workout. Aside from brisk walking, you can do these cooling down exercises to condition your body towards rest.

Shoulder Stretch

This exercise stretches the shoulders and the triceps muscles. In this exercise, place one arm overhead, then bend the elbow joint to extend the palm towards the center of the back. Then, gently pull the elbow with the opposite hand. Next, place the same arm across the chest and pull at the elbow joint to extend towards the shoulder. Repeat and switch arms.

Chest Stretch

While standing straight, lock fingers behind your back. Then lift your chin upwards towards the ceiling. Hold for 5 minutes, then repeat.

Back Stretch

First-round out your back then invert it to create a C-shape with your spine. Repeat this 3 times. Then sit back and extend your arms in front of you to lengthen your back. Relax and repeat as desired.

Quadriceps Stretch

This exercise stretches the quadriceps muscle. Lie on your right side. Next, pull your left heel into your left buttock and feel the stretch on the front of your thigh. Repeat on the other leg.

Hamstrings Stretch

First, lie on your back. Then lift to straighten one leg upward above your hips. Next, press your heel towards the ceiling while holding your thigh. Pull your leg towards your chest. Repeat with the other leg.

Gluteus Stretch

Lie on your back. Next, cross your right leg over your left knee while your left knee is bent. Slowly bring your left knee to the chest while you hold the back of your thigh. Repeat with the other leg.

Aside from these facts, we must also know that during exercise, the blood vessels expand and increase blood flow around the body. Not cooling down after exercising predisposes one to undergo blood pooling in the legs and feet, giving rise to dizziness and even fainting. Even the best-trained athletes can experience this since they have slower heart rates, which further slow down with more exercise, creating greater pooling in the lower extremities. Not cooling down after workouts can also place lives at risk of people with heart disease and older adults.