A good cool down?

Vrijdag, 2 oktober 2015
A good cool down?

When you finish running, it’s a good idea to do a good cool down. Even if it is only for a few minutes. This gives your body time to settle and get rid of waste products, such as lactic acid. This prevents muscle pain and stiffness. What does a good cool down consist of?


A good cool down will gradually lower your heart rate to a normal resting rate. With some breathing exercises, you can avoid unintentionally walking around with an excessively high heart rate for the rest of the day, for example, while sitting still. Moreover, a relatively large amount of blood flows to your muscles during running training. During the cool down, your blood circulation is given time to recover and more blood is sent to other parts of the body. In addition, your blood pressure will also return to a normal level.

A good cool down

Gentle running
Five minutes of gentle running is a good way to start a cool down.

Next, it is good to do some dynamic and static stretching exercises. However, do not do the stretching exercises too intensely or for too long. Training causes small but useful tears in your muscles, and it is not good to make them worse. After all, you want to use the stretching exercises to promote recovery from your training.

With dynamic stretching exercises, you loosen your muscles and joints and lengthen your muscles somewhat as you stretch. Examples of exercises you can do are lunges or the inchworm. For an inchworm, you start from an upright position. Next, you bend down and touch the floor with both hands. From that position, walk forward with your hands, keeping your legs straight. You will end up almost in the push-up position. When you are in that position, walk with your feet in small steps to your hands while keeping your hands on the floor. You will then be back in the starting position. Repeat this exercise several times.

Static stretching has been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of muscle and tendon injuries and overuse injuries. If you do them often enough, these exercises are also good for your flexibility. See the stretching exercises mentioned in the article for a good warm-up.

No pain
A rule of static stretching: never stretch to the point of feeling pain. Stretching should be felt, but the feeling should subside after five to ten seconds, after which you can increase the movement slightly in the next five to ten seconds.

Additional tips

A lukewarm shower and a massage of the muscles you have used the most are a nice addition to your cool down. In this way, you do everything you can to reduce the risk of injury. Also, always make sure that you do not cool down too much while stretching. For example, put on an extra jacket or jumper during cooling down.

Source: Sportrusten and VeiligheidNL