Release muscle tension and boost your flexibility with this 12-minute cool down

Taking time to cool down after a workout helps your heart rate return to normal and is a good way to boost flexibility

Woman doing a butterfly stretch on the floor in her living room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We're all guilty of forgetting to stretch sometimes, but doing some cool down poses after you exercise should be a built-in part of your workout. Not only will it help return your heart rate to normal, but it will improve your flexibility, too. 

It's also beneficial to stretch right after working out because your muscles are already warm, so you can move into the poses with ease.

This routine, created by certified health and fitness coach Caroline Jordan, takes just 12 minutes and mobilizes your entire body. You can tack it onto the end of your lifting session or do it in your lunch break to limber up.

How to do Caroline Jordan's cool down routine

The routine is mostly made up of passive stretches, which means you'll hold the pose for a short period of time, rather than moving in and out of it. 

To do the routine, watch Jordan's video above and copy her movements. You should experience a nice stretching sensation during the moves, but not feel any pain. 

Why is stretching important

Without regular movement and flexibility work, our muscles can shorten and become tight, according to Harvard Health. This greatly increases the risk of injury, as when you call on the muscles to do something they won't be able to properly extend themselves and function normally. Working on your flexibility will help you move better during everyday life, as well as during exercise.

For example, sitting at your desk for long periods of time can cause the hamstring muscles in your legs to weaken, which can negatively impact your ability to walk. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help reverse this issue. 

If you want to do some easy flexibility work every day, try memorizing this 10-move morning yoga flow and practice it when you get out of bed. Or have a go at these beginner yoga stretches during a quick work break. 

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Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.