After a good run, most of think we’re done. And with a busy day ahead, we don’t want to waste time on a cool down routine. It just doesn’t seem necessary. But skipping a post-run cool down is a sure way to slow down your recovery time and also make your next run more difficult. So, after your next run, take 10 to 15 minutes to cool down with these five simple moves. Your body will thank you.

Why should you cool down?

We normally think that a “cool down” is a bunch of stretches. And that’s part of it. After all, stretching and cooling down your body helps prevent muscles and joints from feeling sore and stiff. 

But there’s another important reason to do a post-run cool down. It helps the heart return to its baseline rate in a more gradual way. Why is this important?

Well, if you stop running abruptly, circulation slows down quickly, too, and that leaves too much blood in your legs and not enough blood flow for the heart and brain. That can make you feel lightheaded and even faint.

So, to avoid fainting and lightheadedness, as well as stiff, sore muscles, try these five post-run cool down moves.

Gentle jog or walk for 5 to 10 minutes.

Do low lunges (with back knee lifted) and gently rotate hips for 30 seconds on each side.

Do low lunges (with back knee lowered to the ground) and gently reach the opposite arm up toward the ceiling. Then, reach the same arm across your body and along the ground. Do this for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.

Do a pigeon pose for 30 seconds on each side. This is a great way to open your hips, the muscles of the pelvic floor and upper leg muscles.

Do downward facing dog for 30 seconds. While in tis position, lift one heel while keeping the other heel firmly planted on the ground. This gives your hamstring a nice and easy stretch. 

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