While workouts can be effective stress relievers, we often need time and space following a class to wind down and reap all the benefits of exercise. And let’s be real: Sometimes after we bust our butts in class, we need a great reward, too.
How to cool down after a workout
Because every workout demands something different, we’ve paired a selection of ClassPass favorites with ideas for a wind-down. Whether you need muscle release, nourishment or a little pampering, here’s how to get some of the extra-special, post-class goodness you deserve.
CrossFit and Deep tissue massage
Heavy lifting and intense plyometric movements can do a number on your muscles. These intense, full-body workouts activate fibers both large and small, and repeated use without proper stretching and release can lead to injury, tension and decreased performance. Treat yourself to a deep tissue massage to encourage tissue regeneration and detoxification, which means your hamstrings, lats and shoulders can not only relax, but also grow stronger more efficiently.
Yoga and Letter writing
An open mind and a calm headspace can be a great place from which to reach out to someone you love. Take advantage of your spacious consciousness in the few minutes after class to send a note to a friend or make a list of things you’re grateful for. (For bonus karma points, send a list of why you’re grateful for that friend to them.)
Indoor cycling and Smoothies
While we’re hesitant to suggest rewarding yourself with food after a workout, a nourishing liquid meal consumed thoughtfully and slowly after an intense cycling class can replenish fluids lost to sweat and give your cells the nutrients they need to rebuild. Energy and nutrients from low-sugar fruit, veggies and nuts make for a great rejuvenator. Treat yourself to a calming walk to work or home while you enjoy your blended meal, and you have a perfect post-class pairing that tells your system it can wind down.
Dance and Pedicures
Your twinkle toes are pretty integral to a great dance class. Treat your sore arches, heels, calves and 10 little piggies to a soak, scrub and polish post-class.
Pilates and a Sauna
Pilates is an amazing way to lengthen and strengthen every muscle fiber you have. Help your muscles wind down and continue building their flexibility by hopping in a sauna or hot steamy shower. The moist heat is ideal for muscular relaxation, and the nap-like environment is a great opportunity to mentally scan through your system to see where tension has been reduced and where length and strength are developing.
Barre and Meditation
Barre forces us to focus our attention on minuscule muscles and tiny movements for an hour. Capitalize on this intense concentration and awareness by winding down with a meditation. Barre builds a lot of heat, too, so a short meditation can be an effective way to recalibrate. Try an app like Headspace for a guided version that you can do on the train on the way home or, if you’re feeling super motivated, in the changing room.
Boxing and a Facial
We make some pretty intensely aggressive faces in our favorite kickboxing classes, not to mention the intense amount of sweating these classes encourage. Pamper those open pores and tense facial muscles by partaking in a facial after class. Not only will your cells benefit from the detox, you’ll leave with pleasant, chilled-out face instead of super-mad boxer face. (We’ve all been there—that face sticks!)