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Go With the Flow

Provide a real service to students by taking the time to lead them through a solid, complete cool-down.

We want every class we teach to be well-rounded and efficient, and yet we often shortchange participants by neglecting the much-needed cool-down/flexibility segment. Let your students know how important it is to gradually cool the body. Keep them focused all the way to the end with creative variety. The following cool-down keeps things interesting by combining rhythmic movement, balance and flexibility.

Rhythmic Movement

  • Start with slow marching, consciously pressing feet into ground from toe to heel.
  • Add shoulder rolls; walk feet out to a wide stance.
  • With hips, knees and toes open, lunge right (R) and left (L).
  • Sweep arms overhead, creating a “rainbow” from side to side. Add a circular motion at bottom of arm sweep on each side, to create a figure eight.
  • Come to center, bring hands to heart, squat slowly 4x, press fingertips to ceiling and lift rib cage each time you stand.
  • On final squat, circle arms, place them on thighs and move into spinal stretches. Use a full 8 counts to “melt” down through chest; then round up through spine.
  • Inhale—arms up, and exhale—arms down. Repeat a few times.
  • On final exhalation, slide feet together and bring hands to heart.

Balance and Flexibility

  • Inhaling, raise right knee and press fingertips to ceiling.
  • Exhaling, open arms parallel to ground, palms up.
  • Inhaling, scoop hands alongside body, hinge forward from hip, and press right heel to back wall. To best of your ability, move torso parallel to ground.
  • Exhaling, tip torso upright, and return to start.
  • Repeat on opposite side.
  • After challenging both sides 2x, return to side lunges, 8x.
  • On final lunge to R, hold position, and reach L arm overhead to go into extended side-angle pose, lengthening side of torso.
  • Hold lunge stationary, and change arms.
  • Place L hand on low back for support, reach R fingertips to ceiling, and go into reverse warrior pose.
  • Flow back and forth between the two poses, finishing in extended side angle; hold for 10–15 seconds.
  • Come up on L toe, and turn into a runner’s stretch (pyramid pose).
  • With hips, knees and toes aligned, face R (lower chest to thigh and fingertips to floor, if possible).
  • In one large movement, sweep arms back, then forward and up, lengthening torso, 4x.
  • On final sweep, reach arms forward, and slide L foot in and underneath body.
  • Do a basic hamstring stretch with right leg extended.
  • Face front for 4 spinal stretches.
  • Begin side lunges, L lead.
  • On final lunge to L, hold position and repeat above sequence, beginning with extended side-angle pose.
  • Finish with deep breaths to center the body and close the class.

Thank participants for coming, congratulate them for doing something wonderful for their bodies, and invite them back!

Kimberly Spreen

Kimberly Spreen is the national director of group fitness and education for Life Time Fitness, a premier ÔÇ£healthy way of lifeÔÇØ company that operates over 80 centers across the United States. She is a member of the IDEA program director committee, one of Exercise TVÔÇÖs star trainers, and has been featured in several exercise videos. Kimberly travels the world as a presenter, educator and motivational speaker. Certifications: ACE, AFAA

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