Cooling Down After Outdoor Fitness Activities: What You Need to Know

Doing outdoor fitness activities can be a great way to stay in shape and enjoy the summer weather. But it's important to remember that warming up and cooling down are equally important for maintaining good physical shape. Cooling down helps to reduce lactic acid buildup, prevent cramps and stiffness, and minimize delayed-onset muscle pain (DOMS). When cooling down, it's important to do exercises at a slower speed and with less intensity than your normal workout.

Take deep breaths as you cool down to supply oxygen to your muscles, release tension and promote relaxation. After resistance training, you'll want to do a cool-down routine for mobility. This involves gentle movements with your body weight and stretching. It's like a yoga flow, in which you move without movement and you keep stretching for 5 to 10 seconds (although you can keep stretching for longer if you want).

We have an example of this type of routine below (see 4-minute cool-down routine). Beyond that, cooling through stretching can reduce lactic acid buildup, which can help prevent cramps and stiffness. These exercises can also prevent or, at least, minimize delayed-onset muscle pain (DOMS), the pain and stiffness of the muscles that are felt 24 to 72 hours after exercise. HealthShots consulted Vaneeta Batra, a transformational life coach and fitness enthusiast, who says that physical activity in the heat of summer may not be the best idea. Warming up and cooling down are equally important for maintaining good physical shape, so be sure to do them before and after every training session or intense activity.

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