Not Sure How to Cool Down After a Workout? Try These Follow-Along Videos to Ease Tension
Warming up and cooling down are the two pieces of bread that hold the meat of your workout together. (Would you eat cold cuts without some rye or whole wheat? You could, but it wouldn't be a proper sandwich.) Warmups and cooldowns are important parts of a full exercise routine. Whereas a dynamic warmup will prime your muscles, a cooldown will lower your heart rate and promote recovery. "Cooldowns are just as important as a proper warmup," James Shapiro, NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of Primal Power Fitness, told POPSUGAR. "Inefficiently recovering from your workout can lead to muscle imbalances, which over time can hinder your mobility."
Jogging or walking after a long run is normally a good way to start your cooldown. James said that, in general though, the goal of any cardio and strength-training cooldown is to address tight areas in your muscles. The best way to cool down, he advised, would be foam rolling and static stretches. For foam rolling, which is something we've discussed before as a tool to help with delayed-onset muscle soreness, you can use (you guessed it!) a foam roller or a lacrosse ball to "press up against your muscles to decrease tension," he instructed.
Static stretches should be saved for the end of your workout as opposed to your warmup, according to James, because they may hinder your performance. This small study, for example, showed that dynamic stretching resulted in better vertical jumps (i.e., the subjects jumped higher) than static stretching before the vertical jumps. Plus, "we want to psychologically prepare ourselves and get into the zone" leading up to workouts, James said, and static stretches won't do that; so do dynamic stretches before you get your sweat on. Ahead, check out cooldown videos straight from YouTube that you can follow along with right at home. Some are even short yoga routines (my favorite!).
5-Minute Fitness Blender Cooldown and Stretching For Busy People
Boxer shuffles, something Fitness Blender calls "roundabout toe touch," and torso twists will help ease you into a cooldown post-workout. Then, you'll do static stretches for your hamstrings, shoulders, etc. Get to it!
10-Minute Total-Body Stretch With Blogilates
Cassey Ho from Blogilates leads us through a 10-minute stretching routine. The good news is that you can do this after your workout or any time you feel like you need to wind down. An added bonus is that it'll work on your flexibility as well!
Quick Foam Roller Cooldown Demo With Adidas and POPSUGAR
Certified personal trainer Niki (or SugarySixPack) demonstrates a number of ways to foam roll specific parts of your body — your IT band, shins, glutes, hamstrings, etc. — in a quick video with POPSUGAR and Adidas.
Yoga With Adriene's 6-Minute Post-Workout Yoga
I personally do this yoga flow after my workouts at least once a week. It's a really gentle but effective full-body stretch, again from Adriene, that will help you address any muscles that seem tight after your sweat session.
5-Minute Workout Cooldown With HASfit
HASfit offers this quick cooldown routine – it's only five minutes – that requires an open space and a wall (for opening up your chest). It's an efficient way to stretch out your body, personal trainer Joshua Kozak said, and it's easy to tack on to your workout.
13-Minute Cooldown Stretch With Fitness Blender
Here's another cooldown routine from Fitness Blender that incorporates static stretches for your entire body. You'll hold each stretch for 30 seconds.