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Emily’s Football Focus - Cool Downs for Footballers

Following on from the previous article about warm ups, this article will focus on cool downs for footballers, something that is often looked over or forgotten!

Why are cool downs important?

A cool down is a group of exercises that are performed immediately after training or matches to provide a period of adjustment between exercise and rest. For footballers competing in matches or training several times a week with few days in between, it is vital that they do everything they can to be as ready as possible to perform consecutively. High-intensity intermittent running and jumping, and instantaneous acceleration and deceleration over the course of a match can lead to muscle damage and fatigue, and so the recovery from this fatigue is very important!

What makes a good cool down and what should be included?

As mentioned before, a good cool down should essentially bridge the gap between finishing high-intensity exercise and returning to your resting state. There are two common types of cool downs detailed below:

  • Active Cool Down - This is thought to be the most important aspect of the cool down, promoting greater physiological recovery. This may include 5 minutes or so of gentle variations of the exercise you have just completed, such as a slow jog or walk around the pitch, or even a gentle spin on the exercise bike.

  • Passive Cool Down - This is the more static component of a cool down, including static stretching of all the major muscle groups, mobility work and foam rolling, for example. These can be done immediately post-match/training session and accompanied by other methods of recovery such as ice baths.

A cool down should be tailored to your individual needs, injury history and other factors such as age and playing level in order to get the most out of it. A sports therapist can help to devise this with you!

Is a cool down the only thing I need to do after football?

Although these components are important, it is vital to remember to do the basics well in order to recover well after football matches and training. The three most important things are going to be sleep, eating well and hydration to refuel your body.

In addition, things like sports massage, massage guns and foam rollers and good tools to aid the process but are not the mainstays of good recovery!

Here at SV Sports Therapy, we can help footballers and athletes to devise an effective and tailored cool-down and recovery strategy, taking into account individual factors such as previous injury history. Not only do we treat and manage injuries, but we can also help to prevent them!

Give us a call to book in with Emily on 0203 4944343 or email or you can also book online here. We would love to serve you!


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