Your calendar may not always leave you a whole lot of breathing room. But if you’re scheduling your first meeting 15 minutes after you finish your morning workout, Joshua Clay, trainer and founder of Woke Coaching Systems, wants you to take one crucial step before exiting the gym or workout studio.
When the trainer answered the question of what to do after working out (as in, the moment you finish stretching), he suggested checking the heart rate function on your wearable. “Taking the time post-workout to reduce my heart rate to near resting levels allows me to kickstart the recovery process instead of walking out the door with an elevated heart rate,” he wrote on Instagram. “Most of us spend all day on the ‘gas,’ ensure you’re using a proper cool down to press the ‘brake’ pedal.”
Your resting heart rate (RHR) is “the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re at rest,” explains the American Heart Association (AHA). People in “excellent physical condition” have resting heart rates between 50 to 70 beats per minute, says Jennifer Haythe, MD, director of cardio-obstetrics and internist at NYPH/Columbia.
Let’s say yours is 63 BPM. You can measure the effectiveness of you cool-down by how close you come to lowering your heart rate back to that resting state. If you’re close—off with you! Move on with your life. If you do your heart rate check and find that your body’s still reeling from your intense treadmill workout or lifting session, however, Clay recommends finding a place to sit and moving through a few calming breathing exercises (like the five-breath reset or the 4-7-8 technique). Then, see how your heart’s faring after that.
Workouts, after all, should be about relieving stress. Not creating it.
Lower your heart rate with this cool-down:
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