The following information explains the importance of cooling down and how to do it correctly.
• Do not stop suddenly after vigorous exercise, as this can be very dangerous. Gradually bring the body back to its resting state by slowly decreasing the intensity of the activity. After running, for example, one should walk for one to two minutes. Stopping exercise suddenly can cause blood to pool in the muscles, thereby reducing blood flow to the heart and brain. This may cause fainting or abnormal rhythms in the heart which could lead to serious complications.
• Repeat the stretches done in the warm-up to help ease muscle tension and any immediate feeling of muscle soreness. Be careful not to overstretch. The muscles are warm from activity and can possibly be overstretched to the point of injury.
• Hold stretches 30 seconds or more during the cool-down to improve flexiblity. Use partner-assisted or PNF techniques, if possible.
The soldier should not limit flexibility training to just the warm-up and cool-down periods. He should sometimes use an entire PT session on a "recovery" or "easy"training day to work on flexibility improvement. He may also work on it at home. Stretching is one form of exercise that takes very little time relative to the benefits gained.
Rotation exercises are used to gently stretch the tendons, ligments, and muscles associated with a joint and to stimulate lubrication of the joint with synovial fluid. This may provide better movement and less friction in the joint.
The following exercises should be performed slowly.
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