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After COVID-19

Exercising and being active: Cool-down exercises

Note: If you’re still having trouble doing basic tasks, it might be too early to start exercising. People recovering from COVID-19 may find that exercising too hard can make them very tired or feel worse. Approach exercise gradually and with caution. Talk to your healthcare provider for more advice.

Cool-down exercises, like the stretches below, let your body go back to normal before you stop exercising. They can also help you feel less sore after exercising.

Your cool-down should last about 5 minutes. Do each stretch gently and hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. You can do each stretch 1 to 3 times during your cool-down.

If you can’t do all the movements below, do the ones yo​u can. You can also try walking slowly or gently marching on the spot, or repeat the warm-up exercises while you’re sitting or standing.

Side stretch

  1. Reach your right arm up to the ceiling and then lean over to the left slightly. You should feel a stretch along the right side of your body.
  2. Return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat on the opposite side.
Side stretch  

Shoulder stretch

  1. Put your arm out in front of you.
  2. Keep your arm straight and bring it across your body at shoulder height.
  3. Use your other hand to squeeze your arm to your chest so you feel a stretch around your shoulder.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
Shoulder stretch  

Back of thigh (hamstring) stretch

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your leg out straight in front of you with your heel resting on the floor.
  3. Place your hands on your other thigh as support.
  4. Sitting as tall as you can, bend slightly forward at your hips until you feel a slight stretch down the back of the leg that is stretched out.
  5. Return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.
Back of thigh (hamstring) stretch  

Lower leg (calf) stretch

  1. Stand with your feet apart and lean forward onto a wall or something sturdy for support.
  2. Keep your body upright and step one leg behind you.
  3. With both feet facing forward, bend your front knee, keeping your back leg straight and your heel on the floor. You should feel a stretch in the back of your lower leg.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
Lower leg (calf) stretch  

Front of thigh (quad) stretch

  1. Stand up and hold on to something stable for support.
  2. Bend one leg up behind you.
  3. If you can reach it, use the hand on the same side to hold your ankle or the back of your leg.
  4. Take your foot up towards your bum until you feel a stretch along the front of your thigh.
  5. Keep your knees close together and your back straight.
  6. Return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat on the opposite side.
Front of thigh (quad) stretch  



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