Just because your exercise routine has ended, it doesn’t mean that the work has ended. In fact, the things you do after exercise can often have a bigger impact on your overall health than the exercise itself. According to studies conducted at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, incorporating a few of these things we are about to discuss into your workout regimen will have a long-lasting positive impact on your body. These steps are often overlooked but essential, and now that you are being introduced to them, you can take the appropriate steps to ensure you have all the bases covered.
1. Cooling Down
Too many people who exercise have such a busy schedule that they often make a beeline right for the exit as soon as the last rep has been completed. Taking the time to cool down after your exercise routine will help to avoid blood from pooling in your veins. Cooling down for five minutes after any rigorous workout will allow the body to properly flush out metabolic waste. The cool down should target the areas of the body you just exercised. So if you just completed a strength training workout on the chest, use the rowing machine for five minutes as you cool down. Bringing the heart rate down slowly is easy, try some yoga, hit the treadmill, or ride the bike. Take a few laps in the pool, jog, or take a walk, all acceptable forms of cooling down that will allow those muscles to properly heal.
2. Post-Workout Stretching
One of the most important things that you can do to help the muscles heal is stretching after your workout. If you are bulking up and lost any range of motion or flexibility, the stretching will allow the nervous system to better relax and recover. Similar to cooling down, you should not be stretching to the point that you are straining the muscles, the key is finding that perfect balance where it is slightly uncomfortable but not hurting yourself. Be sure that you are breathing from the diaphragm as your stretch, and start during that cooling down phase. Hoping on the treadmill will allow you to cool down as well as stretch the muscles at the same time. The stretching helps to reduce any lactic acid that built up in the body, while improving your overall flexibility.