You’ve been busy running around the squash court for the past 30 minutes chasing that little black ball and now you’re gasping for air, dripping with sweat and all you really want to do it collapse in a heap on the floor. Do you really need to cool yourself down?
Cooling down gives your body the chance to benefit from the oxygen-rich blood floating around your muscles that are now ready to recover. Ending your squash match or training with a cool down has huge benefits. It will not only enhance your body’s recovery but will help keep you playing more often. An effective cool down is as simple as slowly reducing your activity levels until your heart rate and breathing return to normal. The key lies in the gradual reduction.
This is as easy as spending 5-10 minutes doing a slow jog, bouncing on the spot or simply walking around. Adding (static) stretching into this routine is ideal as lengthening muscles after they have been used helps to release the tension and aids recovery. The trick is to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat on each side. When stretching remember to increase the tension gradually to create a gentle stretching sensation in the target muscle group. Science proves that it is best to leave this type of stretching to the end of your activity because if you use static stretching during the warm up it can be detrimental to muscle use during exercise.
Try to incorporate a cool down into your regular squash routine. You’ll soon find your flexibility will improve and you will leave feeling calm and centred, long and strong and ready for more.
For a list of some common stretches click here