While it’s common for your workout to completely revolve around a yoga class or routine, there are certainly other workouts that you complete involving alternate exercises. Whether you are participating in a cardio focused workout like a spin class or are improving your strength via weight training, each gym session gets you closer to your fitness goals as well as a healthier and happier you. Today, we are here to discuss why everyone should complete a simple ten minute yoga routine after each workout and what the benefits of doing so are.
Women’s Health describes each workout as a meal, where you warm up as an appetizer, complete your main workout as an entree, and then work through a cool down as dessert. Although it’s easy and not uncommon to skip the cool down part of your gym session, it is an important part of squeezing the most benefit out of your workout.
Why Cool Downs are Important
A cool down is a crucial part of your workout, which is not always a widely recognized fact among athletes. Cool downs prevent dizziness after exercising. Without completing one, the risk of dizziness or even fainting exists because of the fact that strenuous exercise causes blood vessels in the leg to expand, so more blood flows to the legs and feet. When you stop exercising abruptly rather than allowing your heart rate to gradually return to its norm via a cool down, that blood begins to pool in your lower body, prompting dizziness and the possibility of becoming faint.
But Why Yoga?
You are probably wondering, what is it about yoga that makes it the perfect cool down workout? The answer to this is multi-pronged. First and foremost, yoga is proven to relieve muscle soreness because it can increase one’s flexibility over time. The stretching technique involved in a simple yoga routine allows not only your heart rate to gradually return to its baseline, but lengthens your muscles in an advantageous way to make you more flexible. Also, the nature of this routine ensures that your heart rate is slowly brought back to normal, mitigating the risk of dizziness or becoming faint.
There are mental benefits associated with a yoga geared cool down, too. First, yoga is proven to relieve stress. While a rigorous workout will excite and stimulate your nervous system, yoga works to calm it. Ending your gym session on the mat allows you to leave feeling refreshed, relaxed, and invigorated. What could be better than that?
An Effective Routine
The yoga poses that you focus on during a cool down should target the lower half of your body. To help you narrow down which poses are the most effective for stretching and to relax your body while naturally lowering your heart rate, we’ve listed a few of our favorites.
It is a good idea to stretch the entirety of your body and begin with a strong base by practicing downward facing dog. Next, stretch your hip flexors by transitioning into the warrior one pose. For someone with a bit more yoga experience that needs to stretch out his or her back and legs, both the sugarcane and half moon poses are the perfect next step.
The butterfly pose will open up your back and inner thighs, making it another good choice. Finally, a wide-legged forward bend C is another pose that your legs will appreciate, which will allow you to relieve any stress held in your lower back. This is the perfect routine especially for after a cardio workout, such as a run or spin class.
Getting into the habit of adding ten minutes of yoga onto the end of your workout is something that you will certainly not regret. This will allow your body and mind to feel better after each workout session, and there is really not much else anyone can ask for besides that. Talk about a small addition that’ll make a huge difference!