GAA COOL DOWN - THE PRINCIPLE
Like all sports, it is as important to cool down after any GAA match as it is to warm up beforehand. Be it Camogie, hurling, ladies or mens football, players generally suffer from fatigue, excitement and emotional stress due to the strength and stamina that’s required to play a game. Adrenaline levels remain high after a match and most players show signs of difficulty breathing.
After a long, tiring game, constricted muscles may lead to blood pooling, and this reduces the supply of blood to the heart and the head. Players may thus feel dizzy after a match or after a hard championship training session leaving them feeling overtrained.
A session of light exercises helps to dispose of waste products and toxins, particularly lactic acid, that’s generated by the body. Cooling exercises prevent muscle stiffness, aches and cramps. Body temperature and blood pressure also return to a normal level. If you practice a few breathing and relaxation exercises that we high here, you will be able to calm your mind and body.
Make sure you repeat each sequence a few times before the final relaxation.
Remember to rehydrate as part of your recovery process.
COOL DOWN EXERCISES
After a hard fought GAA match or training session try the below straightforward exercises - probably best in your change rooms away from stress of battle. Even better talk to your GAA coach about incorporating it into every session or match protocal to aid your teams recovery process.
- Stand erect with your hands by your side. In a slow continuous movement, stretch both arms forward, then straight upwards while going up on your toes. Hold this position for about 20 seconds. Then slowly lower the arms by rotating them behind your back and return to the starting position.
- Stand erect and hold both arms forward at shoulder level with your palms facing each other. While breathing in, open up your arms to a full stretch. Take a few normal breaths. While breathing out, return to the starting position.
- Stand erect with your hands by your side. In a circular movement, move your arms forward, upward, backward, down and forward again, ending with the palms together in a light clap.
- Take a comfortable sitting position in a chair or on the floor. Place your palms on each thigh. In slow rhythmic movements, raise your head upward, downward, to the left and to the right. Hold your head in each position for 5-10 seconds.
RELAX REFLECT REHYDRATE
After the stress and exertion of a gruelling game of hurling or football take a little time to reflect and control your thoughts and emotions whether you win, loose or draw.
- Take a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes. Become aware of your breathing process. Take deep breaths, expanding the lungs downward and the chest forward. Exhale completely with a slight pressure on the abdomen.
- Lie down on your back and breathe while consciously using the abdominal muscles. Take in slow and deep breaths, allowing your abdomen to rise. While exhaling, contract the abdominal muscles.
- Lie down on your back, arms beside the body, palms facing upwards and legs slightly apart. Position your head comfortably and close your eyes. Progressively relax all body parts, while slowly moving your attention from head to toes.