Whether you enjoy high-intensity or low-intensity exercise, cooling down after a workout is an essential part of a sustainable regimen. Performing cooldown exercises after your workout help to keep your body free of injury and stiffness post-workout. During both high-intensity and low-intensity exercise models, the objective is to get your heart rate up. If you neglect to cool down after your workout, the extreme change in your heart rate can come as a shock to the body.
Cooldowns do not have to be strenuous or prolonged in duration. Simply taking 5 to 10 minutes at the end of class can do wonders for your body’s ability to relax after exercise.
Incorporate Active Recovery
Listen to your body. If your body needs rest, it will tell you, and simple stretches will suffice to give your body the recovery time it needs. However, if you’re hungry for more, active recovery can be a great cool down from high-intensity workouts.
Next time you take a HIIT class, consider stopping by a LIT, yoga, or barre class after active recovery. Other examples of active recovery activities include walking, foam rolling, gentle cycling, and swimming.
Any seasoned gym rat knows the importance of stretching before and after a workout, but do you know what stretches are best for targeting specific muscles? HIIT classes are tough on muscles, and the repeated contractions can result in muscle soreness.
Targeted stretches can help relieve some of that next-day muscle tension, so you can consistently make it to the gym. Yoga mats are great for post-workout stretches.
Have A Snack
Proper nutrition is a core component of recovery from both high and low-intensity regimens. After your workout and the subsequent cooldown, it’s a great idea to grab a post-workout snack. Make a habit of it.
Recent studies have shown that a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins is optimal for post-workout recovery. Some common balanced post-workout snacks include fruit smoothies, avocado toast, cheese and crackers with fruit, and apples with peanut butter.