As soon as finish my workouts, I want to run!
Who has the time today to cool down and rest and relax? We are all chasing our tails, busy, busy, busy, managing dynamic home and office scenarios, desperately holding on to any spare time we may find. Then again, I am too tired to indulge in a cool down after an exhausting workout when I’d rather just lie dead in a Shavasana, not wishing to move a limb.
Think again! A cool down is as imperative as the warm up I addressed in my last ObiNo Runfit Series-II blog last fortnight.
ACE (American Council On Exercise) describes a cool down as an activity that “provides the body a period of adjustment from exercise to rest, and may be defined as a group of low intensity exercises performed immediately after activity. The main objectives of a cool down are to facilitate muscular relaxation, promote removal of muscular waste products, reduce muscular soreness and allow the cardiovascular system to adjust to lowered demand.”
What should a Cool Down program address?
My cool down program, as in the warm up always encourages those muscle groups and joints that were used in the preceding workout, in this case, running. It helps relax the muscle groups used in running, that is the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, shins, core and a little bit of the overall upper body.
How to Cool Down after your Run?
After your run, you are hot, panting and your heart rate is really high. Wait until your breathing returns to almost normal.
Now is when you will use static stretches to cool down. Static stretching means placing a certain muscle or muscle group in a position where it can be pulled or extended for a certain amount of time, say about 10 to 20 seconds. Your muscles at this point in time are really, really warm. They are quite elastic and ready to be stretched to and a little beyond the normal limit. Now is the time to activate their flexibility, which will eventually help you in joint mobility while running. Ensure your body is steady, static and balanced around its center of gravity and then perform the stretches.
Apart from joint mobility, static stretching also signals to the muscle groups that it is time rest and relax, bringing the body back into its normal state of homeostasis. This basically means that your body is literally being cooled down, bringing the core and muscle temperature down.
A cool down done well will ensure you do not get soreness in your body post runs.
A cool down should not take more than 10 minutes.
I normally lie down in Shavasana after static stretching, my body completely in a limp and relaxed state, my mind in limbo, nurturing and cherishing every breath I take. Now is the time you think of all the wonderful things in your life, count your blessings and express your gratitude for all that you have.
Including your wise decision to run a marathon.One that will change your life.