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After students have a engaged in strenuous physical exercise, cooling down is a necessary practice in PE class. Cool down activities will help students make the transition from constant movement to no movement at all. There are many cool down activities that a PE class can do to help make that transition.
Jogging and Walking
Physical activities that raise the heart rate of students require a cool down period so that the heart rate can get back to normal. Jogging slowly or walking are effective ways to do this, keeping the body moving at a progressively slower rate. Muscles have a chance to adapt to slower and less constant movement, making it easier for students to sit still after moving a lot.
Stretching is another way that students can cool down after PE class. Any set of stretches should engage all sets of muscles to some degree in a slow and steady manner. Stretches should be held for about 10 seconds each to allow for the best possible results when cooling down so that students can re-establish their normal range of motion. Stretches include holding arms out to form a "T," reaching for the sky, and touching toes.
Breathing exercises can be done in conjunction with stretching or walking to help re-establish regular lung capacity for the students. Have the students take deep breaths and hold them for several seconds. This will make it so students are not heaving and panting heavily when they return to their normal class schedule. It will also work to improve lung capacity as well. Breathing exercises are relaxing and therapeutic, making them perfect for cool downs.
Slow and Steady
When cooling down, make sure that all of the students are taking it slowly. Students should move at a steady pace when walking or jogging and work hard at maintaining stretches in order to receive the maximum effects. Because students' blood is pumping after PE class, it is important to encourage slow movement to return them to a more academically-based attitude before sending them back to class.
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