Don’t Skip the Cooldown after Your Run – 5 of the Best Cool Down Exercises EVER!

At the end of a run, chances are, you just want to sit down and rest. That’s always my immediate desire—along with a nice big glass of icy cold water. But while flopping down post-run sounds ideal, skipping the whole cooldown thing is likely to just end up making you more uncomfortable later on.

A proper cool down after your run can enhance your recovery.  If you skip it your muscles may feel stiffer and sorer than if you had taken a few minutes to cool down properly.  By moving your body through a full range of motion you can reduce that ever so uncomfortable post-run stiffness, which can ultimately impact our ability to move down the row.

When it comes to a run, it’s ideal to end with around 5 minutes of easy jogging or walking … this allows your heart rate to return to baseline gradually, instead of abruptly. This is better for the sake of training adaptation—if your heart anticipates a sporadic change in pace every time you run, then it is not going to know how to regulate itself properly in future training endeavours.

It also just feels good to stretch and cool down, especially if you’ve been running for a while!

We love this dynamic movement sequence following a run post-run..

Here’s the cooldown routine:

  • Easy jog or walk — 5 minutes
  • Hip circles in lunge — 30 seconds each leg
  • Lunge and twist — 30 seconds each leg
  • Pigeon Pose — 30 seconds each leg
  • Downward Dog with alternating calf marches — 30 seconds each leg
  • Window Wiper Legs – 30

Hip Circles in Lunge — 30 seconds each leg

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Step forward with your right leg, and lower down until your body is in a lunge position with your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle directly over your toes and your back leg extended behind you.
  • With your front foot planted and your back foot on your toes, circle your hips clockwise five times.
  • Do five circles counterclockwise.
  • Continue this movement for 30 seconds.

Lunge and Twists— 30 seconds each leg

  • Staying in a lunge position with your right leg forward, rest your left knee on the floor. Place your left hand on the ground for balance.
  • Lower your right arm to the floor so that your elbow is next to the instep of your right foot.
  • Then, rotate your torso to the right while extending your right arm up toward the ceiling.
  • Do this movement for 30 seconds.

 

Pigeon Pose— 30 seconds each leg

  • Bend your right knee, letting it drop off to the right and crossing your leg underneath your torso. Extend your left leg straight behind you.
  • Lean your body over your right leg, resting your forearms on the ground if you can.
  • Try to keep your hips square with the ground, pressing them into the ground to deepen the stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

Downward Dog With Alternating Calf Marches — 30 seconds

  • From lunge position, step back into a high plank.
  • Then, push back into Downward Dog by lifting your hips and butt high into the air and straightening your arms and legs. Keep your head in line with your torso and look back toward your feet to avoid straining your neck. Press your heels into the ground.
  • Lift one heel off the ground and bend your knee while keeping the other heel planted and leg straight. Continue alternating feet in this marching motion for 30 seconds, making sure to really press the heel down each time to stretch out the hamstring.

Window Wiper Legs – 30 repetitions

  • Lower yourself onto your back with your knees bent up and wider than hip-width apart
  • Drop one leg outward and drop one leg inward
  • Focus on lengthening the top leg while keeping your ribs heavy on the ground and allowing the bottom leg to relax toward the ground.
  • Come back up to the middle and then repeat to the other side.

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