Have you just got into the sport of badminton and are looking to understand which are the best cool-down exercises after you have played a game? Cooling down after playing a sport, especially one like badminton is quite vital and you can find all the different ways you can do that below.
There are a few rules to all games that are aerobic or anaerobic sports, and that includes the game of Badminton.
- Stretch beforehand and warm up properly
- Play by the rules
- Always do the best you can
- Be a good sport
- Shake hands at the end of the game
- Thank the Umpire
- Cool down afterwards
Stretching before a game of Badminton is vital.
It is important to warm up the body before putting it through a rigorous process and badminton players can always be seen to do their warm up exercises.
This is to avoid any muscle strains or injuries and players usually take their warm ups seriously.
But oddly, many sports players forget to do their cool-down exercises. And cooling down is just as important as warming up and it must be done to avoid those same injuries. Let’s take a further look.
What is a Cool Down?
Before you go ahead, a quick note here; I am not a doctor or a medical professional and you should always take advice from one based on your exact condition. Cooling down is important but it’s also important to note the following is just an indicative guide about what you could do.
When someone plays sport, their heart rate goes up. Muscles and tendons stretch and they work hard, as does the heart.
When the game is over, the body needs to get back to it’s natural state. If the body goes from working hard to suddenly sitting over a beer, the muscles and tendons take strain.
Cool down exercises help to lower the heart rate gradually, bring the body back to its natural resting state and help prevent muscle spasms or pain.
Cool down exercises also prevent blood from pooling and helps to remove any waste products from the working muscles.
How Long Should a Cool Down Be?
A cool down can be five minutes or thirty minutes long. It is also not so much about the length of the cool-down, but it is about the exercises done.
If you are a jogger, you will know that the last few minutes of your jog include a cool down, or a little stretching.
The same applies to tennis, yoga, football and here, badminton too.
There are no rules to the length of a cool down, in the same way there are no rules to the length of a warm up. The most important thing is that the right cool-down exercises are done, so that the body can recover quickly.
Examples of Cool Down Exercises after Badminton
Stretching out the body would be the most common cooling down exercise after a game of Badminton. Stretching helps lengthen muscles back to their original length, given that during a high intensity sport, muscles work hard and often seize up.
A good stretch, done while standing, sitting or while lying on your back, are vital.
After a game of Badminton, a player needs to stretch out his calf, leg and thigh muscles, open his hips, stretch out his lower and upper back, side muscles, shoulders, neck and all the joints.
A player will automatically know which muscles need to be stretched out, but can always follow a stretching tutorial online, or of course, get a good cool-down routine from the coach. In some cases a foam roller can be used, which really helps with all muscles strengthening and lengthening.
Stand straight. Tuck in your tailbone and suck in your core. Gently fold over, keeping your back as straight as possible. When ready, lower the head and arms, almost to touch the floor. Remain like this for a minute or two, before gently rolling up.
Tuck in your tailbone and suck in your core.
Keeping the hips facing the front of the room, lift your left arm up high, roll it over your head, bending at the waist to the right.
Your body should remain facing forwards while you stretch your waist out to the right. Stay like this for a few seconds, gently roll up with both arms stretched out to the ceiling, then repeat this exercise but towards the left.
Tuck in your tailbone and suck in your core.
Make a wide circle with your hands, bringing them behind your back and clasping them together. Stretch them out, first towards the back of the room, then gently back in, then also back and down to the floor. This is an excellent shoulder stretch.
Sit on your bottom, and pull your sit-bones from underneath you.
Open your legs, not too wide, while keeping your core in and your back straight.
Fold forward slowly, not with the intention of reaching your head to the floor, but rather reaching your head towards the front wall.
You are stretching out your lower back. This same exercise can be done with both your legs straight in front of you, keeping your feet flexed. The aim is not to curl up in a ball, rather to lengthen your back.
Sit on your bottom, and pull your sit bones from underneath you.
One leg is straight ahead of you, the other in a v-shape with your foot on your thigh. As above, reach forward to your outstretched leg, slowly folding forward rather than curling down. Repeat this with both legs.
Stretches while Lying Down
When you lie on your back always keep your core sucked in (pulling your belly button towards your spine) and keep the base of your back, your lower back, on the floor.
Don’t move your neck to the left or the right in any jerky movements.
Windscreen wipers are an excellent stretch. Lie on your back with your feet hip distance apart. Let your legs go from side to side, alternating from the right to the left and back again.
As your legs go one way, your arms are stretch out to the side and your neck goes the other way. Move slowly and deliberately, stretching out your back, your legs, your waist and your arms.
Lie on your back with your core in and your lower back on the ground. Raise both your legs and hug them to your chest.
Stay like this for as long as you like, keeping your neck straight. This is the most wonderful stretch for the full body and lower back, and is supremely easy.
Lie on your back with one leg hugged in and the other leg straight and pointed or flexed. Hug one leg in to your body at a time, alternating legs slowly.
Cool Down Exercises Release Muscle Tension
All of these stretches are designed to release any muscle tension that has built up in your body while playing the game of badminton.
They are not very different to warm up exercises, although many warm up exercises will also include a variety of lunges.
Cool Down exercises are always passive, which means your body is slowing down and you do not want to get your heart rate up again.
They are meant to be relaxing even if they hurt a little while stretching. You should never build up a sweat during a cool down, rather your sweat should start to dissipate and your heart rate should slow down too.
Download Specific Stretching Charts off the Internet
We would suggest that you download a chart off the internet as there are many that offer specific cool down exercises and they are really easy to follow.
Visuals for exercises are a lot easier than the spoken or written word, unless you have a teacher or coach standing ahead of you.
Cool down exercises after a game of Badminton are not complicated at all. They can be simple standing exercises with one leg ahead of the other, both legs straight and being stretched out, or the forward leg bent and in a lunge, with the back leg straightened out.
The idea is to ensure your muscles cool down and do not go into any kind of spasm, that they get lengthened out, and also, that all your body parts have time to recover and for your muscles to rebuild.
Warm up, Cool Down and also, Hydrate!
We started this article talking about the few rules to sport.These included warming up, playing by the rules, playing according to the code of conduct, doing the best you can and then cooling down.
The cool down is vital but there is one other thing that goes with it. Hydration! We will cover that in another sports or badminton related article, but if you want to look after your body and your muscles – stretch, stay fit, stay limber, warm up and always cool down, and very importantly, hydrate!