Cool down with these five stretching exercises from pro running coach and yoga instructor Tywon Thompson.
Why cool down?
It’s important to prime your body for a run with some dynamic warmups, and it might be just as essential to cool down after you go for a run. Cooling down after you run lets your body recover to your pre-run levels. It helps return your heart rate and blood pressure to normal.
Take some time to walk slowly and stretch your body out after you complete your run. This not only helps you return to those pre-run levels but can also prevent cramping and other potential injuries.
We reached out to professional running coach and yoga instructor Tywon Thompson, who also co-leads November Project Dallas. He put together his five favorite exercises to help you cool down.
Seated forward fold
Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Inhale and elongate your spine with your hands above your head as if you are reaching for the sky. Then, exhale, slowly fold forward, and reach for your toes. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Muscles stretched: calves, hamstrings, low back.
Low lunge quad stretch / runner’s lunge
Come to a low lunge position with your right knee and ankle stacked. Stretch out your left leg behind you with your left knee down on the ground or mat. With your right hand on your right knee to help prop your upright, bend your left knee, bring your left heel up towards your left glute, and reach your left hand back to grab hold of your left ankle. Hold this stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Muscles stretched: quadriceps
Low Back modified hold
Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent. Bring your knees towards your chest and place your hands behind your thighs to hold your knees close to your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Muscles stretched: lower back
Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and head pressed against the ground. Bring your knees towards your chest and extend your arms out to the side so they’re even with your shoulders. With your knees together, inhale. When you exhale, slowly lower your knees towards the ground on the left side and turn your head to the right. Breath steady and hold this position for 30 seconds. Inhale, then lift your legs up back to center. Exhale, then bring your legs down to your right side and turn your head to the left. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then, come out of the posture. Muscles stretched: hips, low back, abdominals
Figure four glute stretch
Lie on your back. Bring your right ankle just above your left knee, creating a figure four with your legs. Take your right hand and thread it between your legs. Place both hands on your left shin, pulling your left knee in towards your body, while using your right elbow to push out your right knee. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat the opposite side. Muscles stretched: glutes, piriformis
More training tips and workouts
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