Although you may not feel yourself sweat while swimming, cooling down is key after a swim. Because swimming is a total-body workout, the body requires an increased demand for oxygen and the muscles work harder; a cooldown is essential to help the body recover. The next time you go for a swim, keep these tips in mind — your body will thank you!
- Slow it down: After an intense burst of cardio, it's important to slow down, allowing your body to relax and heart rate to return to normal. Although it doesn't have to be long, a few laps at a leisurely pace will suffice. Don't be afraid to switch up your strokes, alternating between freestyle and the ever-beneficial backstroke. This will help to stretch your entire body.
- Kick it out: To help give leg muscles an extra stretch, grab a kickboard and swim a few leisurely laps. This will lower your heart rate and give your arms a chance to rest.
- Master the drill: Since you're no longer worrying about beating the clock, a cooldown is the perfect opportunity to improve your technique. Drills are used to help you become more familiar with your stroke and make adjustments. There are a number of common swimming drills that you can try, but feel free to play around and create your own drills during cooldown.
- Stretch: As with any cooldown, stretching is essential! The cooldown period is prime for increasing flexibility since your muscles are warmed up. Use the wall (or the starting block) to stretch your calves, back, and shoulders. You can also grab a foam roller after your swim to relieve any post-workout tension.