Train Hard, Cool Down, Feel Good!

Amelia Phillips

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Editors Note: This post is written by our elite performance specialist Andrew Verdon. Andrew has completed a Diploma in Exercise Science, Certificate IV in Fitness, Level 1 Strength Coaching Qualifications with ASCA. He is currently completing a Post Grad Diploma in Applied Science (Elite Sports Training) and will go on to do a Masters in Recovery.

Some recent research has further emphasized the need for a proper cool down after intense exercise. Japanese researchers looked at the effect of  light activity after an intense exercise session on rugby players. While they found it difficult to validate the of  impact any physical recovery on the players they did find the recovery work acted as a mood booster and left the players with a positive feeling afterwards.

Why would this happen? I think even though the positive benefits reported were mental there is still a  physical process going on here. I do believe a proper warm/cool down  mentally gives you a chance to “switch” off after an intense engaging workout or session.

Physically the light exercise will enable the waste products  produced (during the chemical processes of energy creation) to be removed more effectively and will flood the blood supply (including the brain) with freshly oxygenated blood.

So what is intense exercise? A very broad definition I would use is anything that gets your heart rate over around 140 bpm in a session or activity (eg a run or sports game)  or takes you to a feeling of hard exertion say over 7.5/10 if you were to score it subjectively (eg a weight session). If you do either of these invest 5 -10 minutes to warm down. I tell my athletes if they do not have time to warm down then they do not have time to “squeeze” in a training session – it’s crucial!

So make sure you include around 5 minutes of light activity (under 120 bpm) at the end of a session. This may be a walk or cycle or even a swim.

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  • Tom Parker – Free Fitness Tips

    Interesting post Andrew. Do you ever incorporate static stretching as part of your cool down?

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  • Amelia Burton

    Hi Tom,
    I can’t answer for Andrew specifically, but I certainly think that static stretching is an important part of the cool down process. I still believe there should be a 3-5 min period prior to stretching which incorportates active movement to lower the heart rate, and allow the body to return to it’s normal state. After that stretching can last anywhere from 5min to 30min depending on the activity.

  • WellnessPartners

    When I was in high school, I remember that after running hard, when we got to the end of the track we had the tendency to stop and go sit down somewhere, but our sports teacher kept telling us that we needed to keep walking around for a little bit. I didn’t understand why at the time, but I do now, after reading your post.

  • Amelia Burton

    Damn those sports teachers, they think they know everything! Sometimes, just sometimes, they might be onto something….!

  • Health and fitness club Hotel in Newcastle

    I would agree. we used to warm down after circit training and listen to a mother nature CD. little stange but it did relax us and make us fell great.

  • Amelia Burton

    For a minute there I thought you meant Human Nature. Mother Nature I get… Human Nature, not so relaxing!!!

  • Mark

    Thanks Andrew …I have tried you ‘”Train hard, Coll down, Feel Good” formula and got some exciting results.

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