STOP! Don’t walk out of your home gym or workout just yet! You forgot an essential piece to your healing…your cool-down!
So many women underestimate the power of a good cool-down. My definition of a good cool down is:
- One you like and will actually do
- One including active recovery stretch and strength components
- One that will put your nervous system back in a calm state
Ladies, I can’t stress this enough: If you’re anything like me and have struggled with Hashimoto’s, passive stretching is not the way to go. It can lead to hyper-mobility, which is something we may already battle – along with tissue laxity.
Even if it feels oh-so-good after a hard workout, don’t overstretch. This means no facebooking while sitting in the splits or pigeon-posing while scrolling the IG.
Just don’t do it!
Instead, save your muscles, ligaments, and tendons – and preserve all the benefits of your successful strength session – with a good, effective cool-down to keep you strong, fit, and ready-to-go next time.
The 9 Reasons to Cool-Down (Actively!)
- It brings your heart rate back to a resting pace
- It settles the breath, and in turn the nervous system
- It prevents fainting or dizziness
- It prepares your muscles for everyday life
- It reduces the immediate post-exercise tendency for muscle spasm or cramping
- It returns the nervous system to a calm state
- Active cool-downs accelerate the recovery of lactate in the blood
- May prevent depression of your immune system
- May promote faster recovery of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems
When we work out, it puts our body in a stressed (sympathetic) state. And who wants to stay there for the rest of the day? An active cool-down returns our nervous system to a calm (parasympathetic) state. Your body’s happy place.
So, make time for a solid cool-down after each workout. To get started, here are some of my favorite cool-down moves:
This breath and strength move helps calm the nervous system and settles the body down to the floor. After an amped up workout, this cool down move is perfect for getting back to your every day speed of life. No one wants to walk through the rest of their day wired. You shouldn’t either.
Rocking on all 4’s
This move normalizes trunk and pelvic positioning and promotes healthy posture. It also increases the mobility and function of the hips, which are the foundational body part for everything from walking to kettlebell swings.
Beast to Bear
The essence of this move helps get the head below the heart and calms the nervous system. This move helps keep tight hips open and allows for good shoulder stability even after we put the weights down.
Like I said before, the best cool-down is one you’ll actually do. So try out my favorite cool-down moves and incorporate some of your own! Listen to your body when it tells you it needs additional attention for certain muscle groups, but keep it active and don’t overstretch.
With a good cool-down after every workout, you’ll be up, ready to go, and better than ever for the next one!
In Good Health,
Dr Emily Kiberd