The concept of 'Cooling Down'

A cool down routine allows for the safe and gradual return of heart rate, respiration rate, and core body temperature back to pre-exercise levels. Reduces the risk of post-exercise cramping or spasm, and the risk of injury. Aids in the prevention of blood pooling, dizziness, and fainting. After running or exercise, it is the best time to stretch your warmed muscles as a cool down. Having static stretches after exercises will keep you flexible and prevent prolong muscles tightness after exercise. 

Here are some static stretching exercise examples particularly for runners.

 

1. Quadriceps stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your anterior thigh (quadriceps)

  • Stand with your back straight
  • Hold on to a chair or wall for balance.
  • While standing on your left leg, bend your right knee behind you
  • Grabbing your foot or ankle
  • Gently pull your heel toward your tailbone, and avoid arching your back.
  • You will feel the stretch in the anterior aspect (front) of the thigh.
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

2. Straight leg & (Bent knee) Calf stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your calf (Straight leg: gastrocnemius, Bent knee: soleus)

  • Stand tall with one leg in front of the other, hands flat and at shoulder height against a wall.
  • Ease your back leg further away from the wall, keeping it straight (bent  your knee) and press the heel firmly into the floor
  • Keep your hips facing the wall and the rear leg and spine in a straight line
  • You will feel the stretch in the calf of the rear leg
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

3. Iliotibial Band (ITB) stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your lateral thigh (Tensor Faciae Latae,ITB)

  • With the left side of your body next to a wall, stand tall with your hand on the wall  and your body an arm length away from the wall.
  • Cross your right leg (leg farthest from the wall) in front of your left leg (leg closest to the wall)
  • Breathe slowly and steadily as you push your left hip toward the wall
  • Keep the foot closest to the wall flat on the floor, both legs straight, and your back straight (no leaning forward or back).
  • You should feel the stretch on the side of the thigh which closest to the wall
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

4. Hip flexor stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your hip muscles (iliopsoas) which drive our leg forward in the swing phase of running

  • Kneel on your left knee with your right foot out in front.
  • Make sure your right heel is out in front of your right knee and your back foot is in line with your thigh.
  • Keep your back straight
  • Push your hip forward by extending your right hip
  • Make sure your pelvic is pointing forward and not shifted to the side
  • You should feel stretch on your right hip
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

5. Hamstrings stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your posterior thigh (hamstrings) and butt (gluteus)

  • Sit on the ground with both legs straight out in front of you
  • Bend the left leg and place the sole of the left foot alongside the knee of the right leg
  • Bend your trunk forward and keeping the back straight
  • You will feel the stretch in the back of the right thigh
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

6. Groin stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your medial thigh (hip adductors, gracilis)

  • Sit with tall posture
  • Ease both of your feet up towards your body and place the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to come up and out to the side
  • Resting your hands on your lower legs or ankles and ease both knees towards the ground
  • You will feel the stretch along the inside of your thighs and groin
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

7. Lower back stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your lower back after running

  • Lie on your back
  • Bent your left hip and knee to 90 degrees
  • Rotate your pelvic to the right while maintaining your back flat on ground
  • You will feel the stretch in your lower back
  • You may use your right hand to reinforce the stretch
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

8. Piriformis stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your butt deeper layer muscle (piriformis)

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your left knee over your right, making a figure 4 with your legs.
  • Grab the leg with the foot still on the floor, and gently pull your thigh toward you.
  • You will feel the stretch in your butt (gluteus)
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

9. Shoulder stretch

Function: Reduce tightness of your rear shoulder (posterior deltoid) which employed a lot in arm swing during running

  • Standing tall with your back and neck straight.
  • Gently take your arm across your chest using your other arm to pull it a little further.
  • Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.

 

 

Cooling down quickly

The OXD Cool/intense cooling gel specially formulated for providing fast muscle recovery after exercise. Cold application stimulates and is ideal for muscular rest. It is effective against post-exercise muscle stiffness and soreness and helps to prevent injuries. To begin the recovery process, and preparing the body for the next workout. Here are some common areas that you may want to cool them down, such as shoulder, lower back, butt, anterior and posterior thigh, calf and shin. Apply appropriate amount of gel on the muscles, massage gently from distal to proximal (towards heart direction) . You may apply the OXD Cool/intense cooling gel right after your run or exercise.

i.e. for intense cooling gel, not recommended for long massages

 

OXD mixing tips for sports therapist/physiotherapist:

 

On-field support usage

After game massage: Massage cream + intense cooling gel cooling gel + recovery gel

Deeper massage and cool down for fascia release

 

Clinical usage:

For muscular and ligament acute injury (e.g. acute ankle sprain):  Recovery + Cooling/ Intense cooling gel