Whether you intend to walk or run the upcoming Flora Women's Mini Marathon, hopefully by now you have started your training. While many people are very conscientious about warming up before they exercise, many neglect their cool down once they finish their training.
The importance of a cool down should not be underestimated. The cool down aims to gradually reduce your level of activity, allowing your body to return to its resting state.
The cool down helps avoid light-headedness or dizziness which can result from blood pooling in the large muscles in the legs when vigorous activity is stopped suddenly. The cool down may also help the removal of lactic acid that builds up in the muscles after vigorous activity.
You should give yourself 5-10 minutes at the end of your training session to gradually reduce the intensity of your activity. This can be done by reducing your run to a brisk walk or, if walking briskly, by reducing your pace. It is also important to follow this with a stretching routine, this will help to reduce the risk of injury and may reduce muscle soreness. You can contact your local physical therapist for further advice on any injury or concerns you have.
Check out the Irish Association of Physical Therapists website @ www.iapt.ie for some stretches for the cool down.