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Cool down, i.e. calming down and relaxing muscles after training, is an extremely important element of training, unfortunately often ignored by people exercising without a trainer. And the body needs relaxation and stretching exercises at the end of exercise to slow down the heart rate. See an example of a set of cool down exercises.

Cool down , that is, calming the body down, has one main goal: a slow transition of the body from intense exercise to a state of rest. For years, it was a common opinion that the most important effect of relaxation and stretching exercises at the end of training is to reduce the appearance of the so-called the day after exercise. It is now known that this theory is not supported by research, but it does not mean that a cool down is unnecessary. On the contrary!

Why is it worth doing a cool down?

Relaxing the body after training comes down to 5 minutes of low-intensity exercise, breathing and stretching exercises (the type of exercise depends on the training we have performed, and a detailed description of the exercises adapted to each training can be found below).

Not only that the sudden end of training is not good for the heart, but it can also result in weakness or fainting.

The main task of cool down is to gradually slow your heart rate down to the level it reaches while at rest. During training, the heart is forced to work faster and more intensively in order to oxygenate the body. After you finish exercising, a slow recovery is necessary, as abrupt cessation of exercise can cause congestion in the dilated peripheral veins.

Regulating the heart rate is not the only advantage of a cool down. In addition, post-workout stretching helps your muscles relax after strenuous work. According to the trainers, to achieve this goal, static stretching works best, and some experts believe that cool down translates into increased effectiveness of the next training.

Importantly, and often underestimated, cool down is a kind of closure of training as a whole - it has a positive effect on well-being. Scheme: warm-up - basic exercises - cool down, allows you to feel fully satisfied with the work done, because it does not break off abruptly, but from the state of high activityyou gently go into a state of blissful conviction about a job well done.


In order to properly oxygenate the body after exercise, do not forget to end the training with a few deep breaths.

Cool down: exercise examples

The way you finish your training largely depends on its type. In the case of organized classes, e.g. fitness, it is the instructor who imposes silencing exercises. After training at the gym or at home, we must ensure that the increased activity is properly "closed". We can do this by spending about 5 minutes doing a few exercises calmly and slowly. Here are some examples of them:

  • Stand slightly apart and stretch your arms upward, stretching your back muscles.
  • Make slow (!) Arm circles: first with one arm, then with the other (several times forwards and several times backwards).
  • While standing slightly apart, raise one arm vertically upwards, bending it at the elbow to the maximum. With the other hand, take the elbow and pull him by the head. Stretch the other arm in this way as well.
  • Still standing slightly apart, extend one straight arm in front of you, lifting it parallel to the floor. With the other hand, grasp the elbow of your extended arm and from this position, pull your extended arm towards you. Take care that your hand remains parallel to the ground at all times; repeat the pull several times and switch hand.
  • Sit on the floor, straighten your legs, bring your toes together. Bend your torso as deep as possible, trying to touch your toes with your hands. Remember not to bend your knees.
  • Stand on straight legs and do some in-depth forward bends.
  • Finish the cool down with deep inhales with your nose and exhalations with your mouth, while raising your hands (inhale your hands up, exhale your hands down).
According to an expertRadosław Nosal, fitness trainer, graduate of the Academy of Physical Education

What to look for when performing a cool down?

Stretching exercises play an important role in cool down. While working as a fitness class instructor, I noticed that while beginner amateur athletes have no problem with breathing and calming exercises, in the case of stretching, the difficulties are significant. Almost every time there are technical problems related to the limited range of motion. In such situations, when it is not possible to obtain the required amplitude in the joint, I recommend performing the exercise with a smaller range of motion, slower, so that it does not assume any interpretation of the practitioner. Remember that the exercise is not technically performedmay not bring the required effect, and even cause an injury.

Running, cycling: do you need a cool down?

Cool down is needed after any type of physical activity. Also after cycling, running, swimming or Nordic walking. Any intense physical activity should not be interrupted abruptly. For long distance sports, do not stop, just slow down when you reach your target. Did you run 5 kilometers? Add 500 meters of jog or walk to them.

The most important thing is not to stop the effort abruptly, especially if we gave our best during the training. When you calm down after running or riding a bike, it is worth drinking water or an isotonic drink in small sips to at least partially replenish the level of lost fluids and minerals.

Stretching is also an essential part of calming down after the run. Although not very popular among amateurs, it brings many positive effects, so when your heart rate returns to normal after exercise, it is worth spending at least 5-10 minutes stretching. Few people running or cycling know that proper stretching of hot muscles will accelerate their regeneration, strengthen them and reduce the risk of injury. You just need to do a few simple exercises.

  • Stand on one leg, bend the other leg at the knee - bring your heel to the buttock. Keep your body straight. Change the leg.
  • Stand astride and make a deep bend on the exhale. While leaning, perform bends to the right and left legs successively.
  • Rest your straightened leg on the wall or railing. Bend down gently, stretching the biceps. Change the leg.
  • Stand in front of the wall and place your hands on it at the level of your chest. Place the midfoot of your right foot against the wall so that your heel touches the floor, then lean gently towards the wall until you feel your calf stretch (your leg should be straightened all the time). Change the leg.

Remember: while stretching, never exceed the pain limit! Hold each position for 20-30 seconds.

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