The importance of cooling down and stretching should be a "no-brainer" for most athletes and fitness junkies. And yet, many people skip this vital part of their workout entirely.
Cooling down is critical when finishing up a grueling workout. When you stop exercising suddenly, without taking the time to cool down, you run the risk of dizziness and even fainting due to the sudden drop in your heart rate. With regards to stretching, there is no better time since your muscles are already warm! Stretching post-workout can dramatically improve your flexibility over time, which is always helpful in preventing injury.
Many athletes incorporate different types and forms of yoga into their existing exercise regimen, especially during their preseason and offseason workouts. Yoga helps increase flexibility and range of motion, improves balance and muscle strength and has the ability to relieve stress and anxiety. Not to mention, yoga places an emphasis on proper breathing technique and endurance which is of huge benefit to triathletes—especially during competition.
When you are completely attuned to your body and mind, everything can be done in a meditative state. Yoga teaches you to pace yourself, slow and steady for the long haul.
Not everyone has the time, nor desire, to drop into a yoga class or stick to a weekly yoga routine. However, practicing these three yoga poses at the end of your workout is certainly a step in the right direction!
Pigeon opens the hips, groin, hamstrings, and relieves pressure on the lower back and sciatica. Begin on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips, and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders. Slide your right knee forward to the back of your right wrist; at the same time angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right foot to the front of your left knee. The outside of your right shin will now rest on the floor.
Slowly slide your left leg back, straightening the knee and descending the front of the thigh to the floor. Lower the outside of your right buttock to the floor. Position the right heel just in front of the left hip.