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Cooling Down

Sep 25, 2017

“It’s not the intensity or amount of work performed that is likely to injure people, rather what people do for the 6 hours after that heavy work that increases likelihood of injury.”

Low back pain and sports researchers are saying the above statement recently because we’re most likely to hurt ourselves a few hours, or the next morning after strenuous activity, rather than while we’re doing it. If anything, injuries during heavy activity tend to stem more from accidents, or if the person really isn’t accustomed to the task. Does this sound familiar with any recent painful activities you may have done?

We can reduce the chance of injury and pain after strenuous tasks (e.g. heavy workout, or using a drill in an awkward position and so on) by being smart in the aftermath. By actively cooling down, we ease the body into rest state while also gaining awareness of possible problem spots. Like warming up, this really helps keep the body healthy. Here are some easy ways to cooldown:

  • 1.Slow movements, such as sidebends, slow air squats and sweeping arm motions are a great way to remind your body of your range of motion. This will prevent the joints stiffening up and maintain flexibility.
  • 2.Stretching is much better when cooling down rather than warming up. Whether individual muscles like bicep or calf stretches, or static hold positions like a side-lying stretch or the yoga child pose, these static stretches help clear lactic buildup in muscles and feel good.
  • 3.Self-Myofascial Release(SMR): This basically means using your thumb or finger, along with your leverage and some bodyweight, to release your sore spots. There are many ways to do this and it works, but it can be painful. Try using a soothing cream or hot shower on the area before attempting SMR.

These things, along with good old walking, are a good way to be smart about recovery and preventing injuries. Funny thing is that reducing temperature is only important for the first few hours of cooling down, so don’t be shy about using heat to help loosen up in the days after. Chat to Kyle at King Street Natural Health for more tips about cooling down.