Many frequent exercisers skip out on a vital part of their workout: the cool down. It’s overlooked for so many years—until it becomes hard to bend over to tie our shoes. Stretching after a workout is a prime time to increase your flexibility because your muscles are warm and relaxed, which gives you the ability to get a little deeper into the stretches. Cooling down doesn’t have to take long; you can see benefits from just a five-minute cool-down session.
I will demonstrate some cool-down stretches for you to follow. Hold each stretch for 10–30 seconds, then switch to the next stretch (in the video, I hold each exercise for about 10 seconds to demonstrate form). Complete this cool-down sequence after every workout to stay limber and help prevent injury.
Reach your left arm across your chest to the right and gently wrap the right arm around the left arm so the right forearm meets the left elbow. Gently pull the left arm toward you, hold, and then switch sides.
Lift your left arm up and bend at the elbow so the palm reaches your shoulder. Reach over your head with your right arm and use your right palm to gently push the left elbow back. Repeat on the other side.
Interlock fingers behind you. For a challenge, lift your arms up slightly.
Keep your fingers interlocked behind you. Spread your legs into a small straddle and fold over.
Stand with your feet together. Fold over and touch your toes.
Stand with feet in a small to medium straddle. Bring your hands to the right foot or knee. Hold, then switch to the left foot. Hold again, then bring both hands to the center and hold.
Stand with your feet together. You can stand next to a wall or chair for balance if needed. Lift your left heel up and back toward your left glute. Use your left hand to grab your left foot and slightly pull it closer to the left glute. Hold, then switch legs.
Begin in an upright kneeling position. Place your right foot in front and slightly push your hips forward. Hold, then push your hips back, straightening your right leg while reaching for your right toe with your left arm. Hold, then return back to the lunge position. Tuck your right toes under and straighten your right leg while placing hands on each side of the left leg. Repeat the sequence on the other side.
Sit on your bottom and place the bottoms of your feet together. Use your muscles to press knees closer to the ground. You can also use your palms to do this. Remember to sit up straight. Also, try gently bouncing the legs up and down in a pulsing motion.
From the butterfly stretch, straighten the left foot out and to the side. Reach for the left foot with both arms. Hold and then repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back. Bring your right knee up toward your chest. Pull the right knee closer to you using both arms. Actively try and keep your left leg as close to the ground as possible. Hold and then switch sides.
Bring both legs up to the ceiling. Bend knees down and to the sides of your body. If you can, wrap your palms around the insides of your feet and slightly pull down to get a deeper stretch.
Sit in a kneeling position (with your bottom on your feet). Slightly spread knees apart and fold forward, reaching the hands out on the floor in front of you.