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Workouts: The right way to cool down


 
The post-workout boost you get is always the best part of exercising. But what’s not quite so nice? Feeling sore or even injuring yourself because you didn't stretch and cool down properly. Try these moves after your sweat sesh to keep your limbs loose and limber.
 
1. Bring your heart rate down slowly.
If you just went for a run, or did any other cardio exercise, you’ll risk hurting yourself if you plop down immediately after finishing. Try some dynamic stretching before you take a load off:
 
Low-intensity high knees
Skipping
Walking on your heels/toes
Arm circles
Slow jogging, then reduce to walking
Hip rotations (lift one leg up with knee bent at 90 degrees, and rotate your leg from the hip in a circle outwards, put leg down- that should be a step. Repeat with other leg)
 
Do these in a nice, cool (shady) area. Be sure to breathe deeply, and don't push yourself too hard--this isn't another workout.
 
2. Stretch!
Any stretches you know will do. To make it easy, start by stretching your neck and work your way down your body, trying to get every muscle you can. To get started, try these:
 
Roll your neck from shoulder to shoulder, being careful not to roll your head backwards
Stretch your arms over your head with interlaced fingers
Touch your toes (back and hamstrings) with legs crossed and uncrossed
Stretch your quads by holding your foot to your butt
Roll your ankles and point your toes (try taking off your sneaks for this one)
 
Make sure you stretch any part of your body that feels sore or that you worked particularly hard. Hold the pose as long as you feel comfortable, or when your muscles feel loose.
 
3. Grab some H2O
Your bod is probably very tired, and it needs some hydration and fuel stat. Sip some water, or, if you can't get water, a sports drink. Then refuel with a healthy, protein/carb filled snack, like a low-fat cheese stick, cereal, or a granola bar. Now you can sit back and finally relax!
 
 

BY ANDI CWIEKA ON 7/27/2011 7:00:00 AM

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