Five Minutes to Injury Prevention and a Faster Run Tomorrow: The Dynamic Cool Down
You should know by now that a dynamic warm up is essential to being able to train most effectively, efficiently and to stay injury free. Watch the Dynamic Warm Up video here.
The other piece to your runs includes a dynamic cool down. After a run, most of us want to immediately hop into our car, sit down and eat or head back to work. Those are good options, however, they should only be done after you perform a little cool down. The best kind of cool down (you guessed it!) is a dynamic one!
Similar to a dynamic warm up, the dynamic cool down is a set of active movements that help return your heart rate, breathing rate, blood flow, flexibility and range of motion back to their baseline in a healthy manner.
Why should you perform a dynamic cool down?
- Your body systems return to pre-run levels or baseline levels very slowly
- The cool down makes this return less detrimental. It:
- Prevents dizziness, passing out (which can happen because of blood pooling in legs after stopping suddenly) – the reason those “pesky” volunteers at the end of a race force you to keep moving.
- Reduces lactate build up (by improving blood flow and circulation)
- Improves the reduction of hormones that cause elevated heart rate and breathing: Speeds Up Recovery
- Decreases muscle stiffness and soreness
- Reduces risk of injury
The dynamic cool down should last 5-10+ minutes
Dynamic cool down routine:
- Backwards jogging – really pushing the thigh behind your body so your hips open up and your glutes remain activated; this will prevent the hips from stiffening up. after many miles, we tend to slouch our body forward and the hips tighten up in the front – the backwards jogging is essential to open up the hips and reduce the stress on the front of the legs.
- Side shuffles – opens your chest, shoulders, lungs and hips to keep you flexible and prevent stiffening up and gets you back into a tall posture
- Carioca – opens up the hips and rotators in multiple directions to decrease your stiffness and speed up recovery
- Leg Swings (sideways and forward/backward) – improves mobility at the hips, the thigh muscles, ankles and knees
- Calf/ankle pumps – improves motion and decreases stress and strain on the arches, the whole foot, ankle and calves
- Spiderman – improves mobility and flexibility throughout the upper back, low back, hips, ankle and shoulders
Static Stretching (30-90 seconds each) after you’re done with the Dynamic Cool Down
For more on recovery and dynamic cool downs, see my blog post on Post Race Recovery.
Enjoy your miles even more! ~ Kari