Just as you should warm up before you work, you should also do cool down exercise. It seems that too many people just stop when their workout time is done. If their goal is to workout for thirty minutes, when thirty minutes rolls around they just stop. This is the worst thing you can do for your body. It allows your body to avoid the shock of your heart rate climbing and then suddenly dropping.
There are various methods to cool down. If running, you can simply walk for five minutes before ending your workout. If walking, end your workout with a thorough stretch. Not only will cool downs allow your body to recognize that it no longer has to work as hard as it just was, but it will help to keep you from being sore the next day. Stretching after a tough workout will keep your muscles from getting tight or having lactic acid build up.
Some simple stretches include the calf raise, the toe grab, the runner's lunge, and hand down spine. The calf raise is when you place the ball of your foot on a wall or step and press against it so that you feel a pull in your calf. The toe grab is when you sit with the balls of your feet touching together and press your legs towards the ground while holding your feet. The runner's lunge is a great stretch the will keep you from pulling your sensitive muscles in your hip that may not get stretched often or properly. The hand down the spine will help to stretch out the tricep. These are just a few exercises to help cool down the body but there are countless more. When setting up a cool down routine, choose exercises that focus on the areas of your body you just worked out.