essential-post-run-cool-down

THE ESSENTIAL POST-RUN COOL-DOWN

Consider it part of your workout rather than an add-on.

With time at a premium, it’s tempting to bolt straight from the treadmill to the locker room, but you should prioritize your cool-down just as much as the run itself.

Exercise increases cardiac output, core body temperature, and blood pressure and circulation. To maintain homeostasis and your organs’ optimal functioning post-workout, you need to bring your cardiovascular system and core temp back to baseline at a slow and steady pace.

Your move: Schedule 10 minutes at the end of each run for this routine from Alex Figueroa, a Precision Run coach at Equinox Sports Club Boston. Resist the urge to cut it short and remember: The cool-down isn’t separate from your workout, it’s part of it. 

1. Taper jog

Slow down gradually until you’re at a walking pace, but maintain your running gait. Continue for 3 minutes or until your breathing is only slightly elevated. (If you’re on a treadmill, start at your easy jog pace and then lower the speed by 0.5 mph every 30 seconds.)

2. Calf stretch 
Step foot back with straight leg and press the heel into the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

3. Standing hamstring stretch 
Bend left knee softly and extend right leg straight in front with heel resting on floor. Hinge forward from the hips, maintaining a flat spine. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

4. Standing quad stretch 
Find balance on left leg, using a wall or solid support if necessary, bending right knee back, and pull heel to glutes, holding onto right ankle or shin. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

5. Standing anterior shoulder stretch
Standing tall on both legs, soften knees, interlock fingers low behind the torso (resting on glutes), maintain tall spine and long arms, and reach hands as far back and up as you can, careful not to move into pain. Hold for 30 seconds.