Hiiiiiiya! So I promise... this week you'll know why I've been so MIA here on the blog and on Instagram.... its a good excuse I promise! So stay tuned for that goodness.
ALSO- the winner of the giveaway from this past weekend is @jordanisobel. Congrats girl! Please DM me your address so I can mail you your gift card :)
SOOOOO. Now onto the real content here haha. I promise to have some new and exciting/motivating things soon but for now you just a super awesome Biggest Loser-style cool down :) Following a workout, you should ALWAYS bring your heart rate down to normal. Always always always. It helps prevent *venous blood pooling and can help avoid injuries post-workout.
*Venous blood pooling: I am referring to what happens in your lower extremities following exercise- your heart is furiously pumping blood to your muscles to help support the exercise... so when you stop suddenly without a cool down, the muscles aren't contracting as they need to in order to pump the blood back up to the heart. You want/need to have your leg muscles help get that blood back up to your heart because this will help bring your heart rate back down to normal slow and steady. It is tough on your heart to suddenly change from a super high pressure to a low pressure.
The best thing to do following your workout is to walk it off or take it to a lower intensity (whether that be dancing, biking, or whatever you are doing). This helps gradually get your body back to normal. This usually takes me about 10 minutes to get all the way back down to my resting heart rate. Follow that steady decline with these stretches to prevent injury and increase your flexibility!
1. Calf Stretch
Stand facing the wall with one leg lunged out behind you. Place your hands on the way and push towards the wall while working to keep your lunged back heel on the floor. You'll feel the stretch in the back leg.
2. Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor (an exercise mat is preferred, but I forgot to bring one!) with your legs slightly apart. Bend forward at the waist and work to keep your knees as straight as you can (without hyper-extending them). Reach for your toes! If you aren't ready to grab onto your toes, start with your knees or your shins and then work your way towards the toes while keeping your knees straight.
3. Reach Across Stretch
Standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, place one hand on your hip and reach the other arm above your head and stretch towards the opposite side of the room. Try to keep your arm 'alive' (no dead of limp arms please!) and think about going high and long. Don't forget to switch sides :)
4. Hip Flexor Stretch
This is probably my favorite stretch- I love it! Feels so dang good, my hip flexors are always so tight. Kneel on the floor with one knee while keeping the other up on the ground. Place your hands on your knee and lean/lunge forward.
5. Tricep Stretch
Place one arm over your head with your elbow pointing directly towards the ceiling. While keeping your forearm close to your head, grab your elbow with the opposite hand and pull inwards/towards your head and back.
6. Quad Stretch
Bend one knee, and bring your foot towards your bum and hold it with your hand (ie right hand holds the right foot). Gently pull up and try to bring your foot closer to your bum to feel the stretch.
Remember to keep your standing leg slightly bent so that you don't hyper-extend it.
7. Child's Pose
Kneel down on the floor and sit your bum back to your feet. Extend your head and arms out in front of you while pushing your forehead towards the floor.
This is such a relaxing exercise!
8. Low Back Stretch
Lie on your back and bring your knees up towards your chest. Hold onto your knees and continue to pull your knees up towards your chest further to feel the stretch.
9. Glute Stretch
Staying in the same position as the previous stretch, cross your legs and put one ankle on the opposite knee. Wrap your hands around the flexed leg and pull back to feel the stretch in your bum. Don't forget to repeat on the other side.
ALWAYS remember to listen to your body when you are stretching! Your body is warm and therefore more ready to stretch than when you are cold but don't over do it! Flexibility is so gradual, just take it a little bit at a time and breath into each stretch.
I'm a college-grad, certified group fitness instructor and certified personal trainer looking to get my healthy to the next level. I hope you can find a little something here that will help you on your journey too.