After your coach finally ends a long and grueling practice, sometimes the last thing on your mind is more exercise. It was a long day, you’re exhausted, and just want to hop in the car and head home. It can be easy to neglect adding a cool down routine after practice, especially when the rest of your workout has been so structured at practice. However, that doesn’t make the cool down process any less important. Your heart is beating faster than normal, your blood vessels are dilated, and your body temperature has increased. Gradually bringing your body back to its normal state, as opposed to quickly shutting it down, can prevent you from feeling sick, dizzy, or even passing out. Here are some examples of ways you can cool down after your next practice.
Go For a Walk
We know this is nothing revolutionary, but going for a leisurely walk is one of the best ways to let your body cool down after a tough workout. You don’t need to go for miles, 5 or 10 minutes should do the trick. You can make your cool down a little more interesting by grabbing some teammates to join you! It can be a great time to catch up with your friends and bond more as a team while improving everyone’s health.
Not only is stretching a great way to cool down, but directly after a workout is the best time to do it. Your muscles are already warm and pliable so you’ll be able to stretch farther without pain or tightness. Improving flexibility is also incredibly helpful in injury prevention, so taking some time to do this after practice could really help you down the line.
Exercise in Place
If you don’t have a convenient place to walk near your practice area, you can still cool down in place before you head home. Doing a few minutes of jumping jacks or jogging in place can feel a little bit like you’re back in gym class, but are still great forms of exercise that have a small enough resistance to be an effective cool down.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate!
Of course, you have to refuel your body to feel your best after a good workout. Keep a bottle of water handy for after practice to make sure you feel great for the rest of the day!