Got stiff joints and muscles? A cool-down is lower-intensity exercise – such as stretches or mobility drills – performed directly after a vigorous training session. Foam rolling can cool down your joints and muscles and is a winning idea for reducing your risk of injury and improving your mobility and posture.
Flexibility movements while foam rolling make a positive difference in your body and help improve the quality of your future workouts.
See the video lower within this article for movement examples that help keep your synovial fluid moving freely around your joints.
Benefits of Foam Rolling During Your Cool-Down
A good cool-down can accelerate blood lactate recovery while helping reduce depression in your immune system and promoting speedy recovery for your respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Also, when your muscles are pumped full of warm blood and oxygen directly after a workout, it’s the perfect time to improve muscular flexibility and joint mobility.
- The ball-and-socket joints of the shoulders and hips are where injuries commonly occur from exercise and the sensitive vertebrae of the lower back.
- Injuries aside, certain key exercises – such as pressing and squatting – can only be done effectively if there is already a certain level of mobility in the shoulders and hips.
A joint is where two or more bones meet. From an ancestral perspective, joints are meant to be supple.
What is Synovial Fluid and Why Does It Matter During a Cool-Down?
Your body produces a substance called synovial fluid to lubricate its joints.
Just as car engines have motor oil, your physique has synovial fluid within it so that your bones can move past one another effortlessly.
The more sedentary you are, the less your body thinks you need fluidity. If you don’t use it, you lose it – as the saying goes – and soon, your joints become sticky, abrasive, and at risk for injury the next time you move quickly, spontaneously, or under a weight-bearing load.
This is why, with each passing year, doing a cool-down properly after exercise becomes even more important.
What is Spinal Compression and Why Does It Matter During a Cool-Down?
Our spines are meant to be long and bendy.
During pre-history, our ancestors did not sit in chairs.
On the other hand, modern life involves sitting for absurdly long periods, which can shorten spines.
A compressed spine means vertebrae are too close to one another, which can put undue pressure on spinal nerve endings resulting in slipped discs, extreme pain, or – at the very least – unattractive posture.
Try This Foam Rolling Cool-Down
This series of movements is designed to mitigate sticky synovial fluid and spinal compression – and restore joint and muscular mobility.
Refer to the video to see how each specific movement is executed.
As always, consult your medical doctor before beginning any new movement regimen.
Cool-Down Movement Series with Supported Spine:
- Robot Arms
- Around the World
- Crunch and Hold
- Bird Wings
Foam Rolling Movement Series with Elevated Hips:
- Knee Circles
- Hip Flexor Stretch
Cool-Down Reclined Series:
- Foot Rolls
- Knee Hug
- Human Ball
- Lower Back Stretch
- Hamstring Hug
- Happy Baby
- Adductor (Cobbler’s) Stretch
Sitting While Foam Rolling:
- Glute Roll
When rolling, the idea is to try to relax the area you are targeting deeply:
- You’re looking for the sweet spot – where the muscle feels tight or uncomfortable.
- Then, you roll the area while taking slow deep breaths to loosen the tight fibers surrounding that particular place.
Narrative Review of Cool-Down Effects – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-018-0916-2
Research of Cooling Down Benefits – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Scientific Validation of Cool-Downs – https://simplifaster.com/articles/cool-down-exercise/
More Cool-Down Ideas – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045517