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Your post-run cooldown is SO, SO, SO important. A successful and efficient cooldown routine helps our muscles recover faster, feel less sore, have a shorter rest time between workouts, prevents injury, creates more efficient blood flow to our working muscles and more!

To make sure you are doing a proper cooldown, here are three steps recommended by Penn Medicine to ensure a healthy cool down:

  1. Immediate Phase – Gradually Slow Your Body Down

You never want to suddenly stop after a run. If you come to a sudden stop it hinders efficient blood flow to the brain, which can cause fainting. Instead, slowly phase out of your run pace into an easy slow jog (or as I call it “slog”) for about 1 or 2 minutes and then transition to an easy walk. This way your heart rate can gradually decrease as you slow your body down.

  1. Intermediate Phase – Dynamic Exercises

Once your heart rate has decreased and you begin to feel less fatigued, it is important to perform some dynamic exercises. This will help with joint movement and positively affect your future running performance. For dynamic exercises, try a few stretches that involve gentle movement. For example, walking lunges, leg swings, heel taps, toy soldiers, torso twists, etc.

  1. Late Phase – Static Stretch

This phase happens once your heart rate has returned to its resting rate. Depending on how intense your run was, this phase can happen in 20 minutes or it may take a few hours. However long it takes your body to return to a resting heart rate, you then want to perform static stretches. Types of static stretches include reaching for your toes, quad stretch, yoga poses and using a foam roller. All these stretches help improve your flexibility and reduce muscle tightness.

Remember to complete this routine after every run, and you will realize greater rewards!

by HealthEase fitness pro Jessika Miller