Reduce the risk of injury after exercising with Jane's guide to cooling down...
Walk around or lower the intensity of your activity for 2 -3 minutes until your heart rate and breathing has returned to a rested pace.
Now do the following stretches, holding each one for 30–60 seconds. Take deep slow breaths and try to relax and hold your inner core (see my start up guide)
Calf stretch. Lean against a wall with your arms outstretched in front, right leg bent in front, left leg straight behind you. Lean into the stretch, pushing hips, forward – you should be forming a straight line from your shoulder to your heel. Feel a stretch from the back of your left knee, down to your ankle. Hold and change legs.
Front thigh stretch. Place your right hand on a wall or chair for support. Bend your left leg and hold onto your ankle behind you. If you can’t reach, hold onto the back of your shoe or simply rest your lower leg on a chair with your leg bent in the same position. Push your hips forward and lift up your tummy. Hold and change sides.
Back of thigh stretch. Stretch your left leg out in front of you, resting your heel on the floor or a low stool/chair. Lean forward with a tall back, maintaining a neutral spine and rest your hands on your knees. Pull your tummy in and push your bottom back to feel a stretch in the back of your left thigh. Hold and change sides.
Bum stretch. Hold onto a sturdy support - kitchen sink is ideal! Cross your left ankle over your right thigh, knee out to the side. Sit back, into a squat position , keeping your back tall and tummy in. Feel a stretch deep into your bum. Hold and change sides
Back stretch. Go into a half squat position, bending at the knees slightly, bottom back, hands on thighs. Hinge forward at the hips to bring your back into a horizontal position. Now curl your back up like a cat, dropping your tail bone and head. Slowly come back into a neutral position where your tail and head are lifted. Repeat slowly 2 – 4 times.
Chest stretch. Stand tall, take your hands behind you and place into the small of your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades/elbows together. Alternatively, place your left forearm vertically on a wall, elbow bent at 90 degrees. Turn your torso away from your arm to feel a stretch in your shoulder and chest. Hold and change sides.
Tricep (back arm) and waist stretch. Take your left arm up and over your head and bend your elbow to bring your hand between your shoulder blades. Gently pull your elbow across to the right with your left hand. For an extra stretch, lift your left ribs away from your left hip to feel a stretch in your waist. Hold and change sides.
Neck and shoulder stretch. Draw your shoulders back and down and gently take your head to the right, easing your right ear towards your right shoulder. For an extra stretch, press your left shoulder gently back and down with your right hand. Hold and change sides.