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Cool Down With Smart Exercise Transitions

By Sandy Schroeder

Don't just stop after that great run or brisk walk. Make sure you give your body a gentle transition with 5-10 minutes of stretching or simple exercises. Let your body slowly slip back into a natural resting state. If you do, Prevention says you will feel better the next day without so much aching.

To pull this off, link your transition exercises to the main event. If you just ran two miles, stretch your legs. If you did an upper body workout, stretch your arms, shoulders, and chest.

As you transition, your heart and breath will have a chance to calm down too as your muscles regroup. The American Heart Association says when you take the time to cool down you keep the blood flowing and avoid sudden drops of heart rate or blood pressure, which can cause light-headedness.

Here's are some sample transitions from Prevention.

Start With Stretching

  • Hold each stretch 10 to 30 seconds
  • Keep it strong but never painful
  • Breathe while you stretch as you exhale in the stretch and inhale as you hold it
  • Keep it smooth and never bounce a stretch

Try these simple stretches.

Lower back regroup stretch - Lie on your back and bring knees up keeping feet flat on the floor. Press shoulders down and move knees to the right and hold. Then rotate knees to the left.

Up dog recovery stretch - Start in a down dog position to stretch the hamstrings. To get there start on all fours and lift your bottom up and back as your heels come down to the floor with your head hanging down through your arms. Then exhale and drop hips toward the floor and look up. Let tops of your feet rest on the floor. Then release and lower your body to the mat.

Follow Up With a Walk

Try walking for about five minutes until your heart rate goes below 120 beats per minute.

  • Relax as you help your body transition back to resting with the short walk.
  • If you don't want to walk around the block, just walk in place or use a treadmill.

Use Some Simple Moves

After that long run or fast-moving walk, let the body slow down gradually with some simple yoga moves, dance steps, or tai chi poses.  Choose something that feels comfortable and lets your body ease up. When you do, all of your systems will thank you. Cooldowns are just as important as warm-ups to keep the body healthy and happy.

 To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga.

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