You may not realize it but cool down exercises are one of the most important things to do after workouts. Just like not doing warm up exercises can lead to injuries and pain, skipping cool down exercises is also rather important for the same reason and more. Cool down exercises help bring down your heart hate to normal and also help relax your muscles after a strenuous workout. Before you step out of the gym or your workout studio, it is important that you do a few cool down exercises that are calming for the mind and body. Here are some universal cool down exercises that you can do after any workout. (ALSO SEE 5 common workout mistakes and how to avoid them) Also Read - Doctor-Approved Exercises You Need to do Regularly
Stretching the back
Your back and spine is what helps you maintain your posture and it is vital to ensure that there isn’t too much pressure on it during or after the workout. In order to prevent any jerks or injuries, once you are done working out, do this stretch that works on your back. This is the backward and forward bend that aligns the spine in its original position. First, raise your hands and then bend backwards to arch your back. Then come back to the starting position and then bend down and try to touch the floor with your hands without bending your knees. Then come back to the starting position and lower your hands. Do this two-three times to relax your back muscles. Remember, do not over-exert yourself, the idea is to relax the muscles and joints and not put added pressure on them. Also Read - How to Build Upper Body Strength
Stretching the shoulders
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If you have worked on your chest and shoulders in the gym, this exercise is a good way to ensure that they are relaxed before you leave. To cool down, simply stretch your left arm to the right side and then use your right arm to press on your elbow. Press it for 10 seconds and then release. Now do the same thing with the other arm as well. The gentle pressure will help relax your shoulders. Remember, the arm you are using to apply pressure should be perpendicular to your other arm. (ALSO SEE 5 dos and don’ts in the gym)
Stretching the wrists
Wrists also need to be relaxed as you may not realize it but they too can get injured easily as you tend to pick up heavy weights or use them to support your body weight during workouts. To relax them, again stretch out your arm in the front with your palm raised up. Using the other palm, press on your fingers and bend them backwards as far as you can. Then, turn your arm so that your fingers are facing down and then again use the other hand to bend them backwards. Do the same thing for the other arm as well. You can also make a fist and then rotate your wrists in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions to release the tension.
Stretching the thighs
Since thighs tend to get soar pretty easily if they aren’t relaxed after a workout, you should definitely make sure you do this exercise before you leave the gym. Stand next to a wall and then take its support by placing your palm on it. Fold your knee of the opposite leg and then using your hand, hold your foot and press it as close to the back of your thigh as you can. Hold the pose for 10 seconds and then release. Do the same thing for the other leg as well. You will feel a slight pressure on your thighs while doing this exercise but later they will feel lighter and relaxed. (ALSO SEE Foods to eat after a workout)
Stretching the triceps
Triceps is also one area that tends to hurt when they aren’t relaxed after your workout. In order to stretch them in a cool down, do this simple exercise. Raise one arm in the air with your palm facing your back. Now fold your arm so that your hand touches your back. Place your other hand just above the elbow, closer to your triceps and then gently press for 10 seconds and then release. Do the same thing with the other arm as well. This exercise will take away all the built in tension in your triceps.