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Men’s Health

11 Best Cool Down Exercises for Recovering From Intense Workouts



Stígur Már Karlsson / World PhotosGetty Images

So you’ve finished your workout and are ready for the next part of your day. Not quite. Take the time to do cool-down exercises and your body will thank you for it.

“Think of your body like a car,” says Boom Cycle trainer Lisa Jane Holmes. “You (hopefully) don’t go 100 mph for an extended period of time, then when you’re done just hit the brakes, turn off the engine, let it stand and hope for the best when you leave it the next time you start it will be the same for your body, so if you have been exercising intensely, gradually reduce this intensity so that your body temperature and heart rate return to normal.

“Including stretches in your cool-down routine can also help prevent lactic acid build-up and reduce muscle stiffness and soreness for the next 24 to 48 hours after your session, as well as maintaining joint flexibility. Down is perfect because your muscles are already warm and are loose so you can potentially stretch deeper and, over time, increase your range of motion too. “

But what if you don’t have the time when your workout is all you can get on that day. Well, according to Holmes, avoiding cooling off is not only bad shape, it’s potentially dangerous. “If you leave a fitness class or training session almost immediately after the last stroke, your heart rate is still likely to be extremely high. Keeping your heart rate this high without it slowly decreasing can lead to dizziness and muscle spasms.If you sit without cooling down almost immediately after your workout session, blood can pool in the extremities of the body, which means that less blood is in your head and reaches your heart – a recipe for lightheadedness and fainting. ”

Don’t make this mistake. Try these 11 cool-down exercises on your next workout and you’ll be relaxed, refreshed, and ready for whatever your day entails.

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Child pose

Muscles stretched: Hind legs

Okay, you’ve just finished an intense workout and are looking for an easy way to get into your cool, right? Our tip: start with a simple children’s pose.

How one: Start on your hands and knees before extending your arms and leaning back until your buttocks are on your heels. Look at the floor and take a moment to relax in this position.


Children’s pose with lat reach

Muscles stretched: Hind legs

The second stretch on this list doesn’t require leaving the child’s pose.

How one: In the child’s pose, extend your arms to the left and stay there for 45 seconds to a minute. When you’re done, do the same thing on the right. As the name suggests, this is an excellent stretch for your lats.


Upward facing dog

Muscles stretched: Lower back

How one: Curl up on your front and step into a low cobra by arching your lower back and lifting your chest. Support your body weight on your hands, but with your elbows bent. When this feels comfortable, either straighten your arms a little more so that you are in a tall cobra, or all the way so that you are in an upward dog position, as shown in the illustration.


Cat cow

Muscles stretched: Back, stomach

More work for your back and especially your lower back here.

How one: Start on all fours with your arms shoulder-width apart. Bend your back and look up. Hold this position for five seconds. Tuck your chin in and push your rib cage towards your pelvis. Hold this position for five seconds. Repeat over and over again.


Hip flexor stretch

Muscles stretched: Hips, quads

How one: Extend your right leg in front of you and place your left knee on the floor. You can do this stretch with your left shin parallel to the floor, or you can lift your leg 180 degrees and hold on to it with your left hand. Do that and you’ll get a good stretch in your left quad as well.

Whichever option you choose, drive your hips forward while keeping your back straight. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat 2 to 5 times on each leg, trying to increase your stretch each time.


Pigeon keeping

Muscles stretched: Hips, buttocks

How one: Get into a push-up position and swing your right knee toward your left hand. Keep swinging your knee until it touches your right hand and then place the knee on the floor so that it is in a line or just behind your arms. Drop onto your forearms to deepen the stretch before repeating this on the left side.


Lying torso twist

Muscles stretched: Buttocks, lower back

How one: Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. With your shoulder blades on the floor and arms outstretched so that you are in a T shape, move your knees to the side. Look in the opposite direction to your legs and hold. Return to the center and repeat the stretch on the other side.



Muscles stretched: Chest, shoulders

How one: Lie face down with your arms wide apart and lift your left leg until it crosses your right. Your foot should land somewhere near your waist. Bend your left elbow and use your left hand to maintain balance.


Shoulder stretch

Muscles stretched: Shoulders

How one: Bring one arm across your body and cross your elbow with the other arm. Hold for 30 seconds.


Triceps stretch

Muscles stretched: Triceps

How one: Raise your right arm toward the ceiling, then bend your elbow so your right palm falls toward the center of your back. Place your left hand on your right elbow and use it to gently push your elbow down and down. Hold this stretch for three to four repetitions on each side for 30 seconds.


Neck circles

Muscles stretched: neck

How one: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Move your neck in circles, first clockwise and then counterclockwise.

Daniel Davies is a writer for Men’s Health UK and has been reporting for various publications on sports science, fitness and culture for the past five years.

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Men’s Health

Staring at yourself on Zoom impacts mental health, especially for women



In the past few years, people across the world have spent more time on video chat programs like Zoom and FaceTime than ever before. These applications mimic in-person encounters by allowing users to see the people they are communicating with. But unlike in-person communications, these programs often also show users a video of themselves. Instead of catching the occasional glimpse of themselves in a mirror, now people are often looking at themselves for hours a day.

We are psychologists who study society’s focus on women’s appearance and the consequences of this constant scrutiny. We were immediately fascinated by the new dynamic created by the Zoom world. While critical for public safety during the pandemic, we believe that virtual classes, meetings and the like lead to a continuous focus on one’s own appearance – something research suggests is harmful to mental health, especially for women.

Objectification is a bit of a buzzword, but the meaning is rather literal: being seen or treated as an object. This often comes in the form of sexual objectification, where bodies and body parts are seen as separate from the person to which they are attached. Advertisements are rife with examples of this, where close-ups of certain body parts are often shown to help market a product, such as a bottle of cologne graphically nestled between a woman’s breasts.

Not surprisingly, women’s bodies are treated as objects way more often than men’s. Because women and girls are socialized in a culture that prioritizes their appearance, they internalize the idea that they are objects. Consequently, women self-objectify, treating themselves as objects to be looked at.

Researchers investigate self-objectification in experimental studies by having study participants focus on their appearance and then measure cognitive, emotional, behavioral or physiological outcomes. Research has shown that being near a mirror, taking a picture of oneself and feeling that one’s appearance is being evaluated by others all increase self-objectification. When you log in to a virtual meeting, you are essentially doing all of these things at once.

What does self-objectification do?

Thinking of yourself as an object can lead to changes in a person’s behavior and physical awareness, and has also been shown to negatively affect mental health in a number of ways. While these experiences with self-objectification lead both women and men to focus on their appearance, women tend to face many more negative consequences.

Research suggests that experiencing self-objectification is cognitively taxing for women. In a seminal study done in 1998, researchers showed that when women put on a new swimsuit and viewed themselves in a mirror, the self-objectification this produced caused women to perform poorly on math problems. Men’s math performance was not affected by this objectifying experience.

Further, experiencing objectification has behavioral and physiological consequences. In the aforementioned study, trying on a swimsuit produced feelings of shame among women, which in turn led to restrained eating. Other research has shown that when women think of themselves as objects, they speak less in mixed gender groups.

Self-objectification also leads women to, in a sense, distance themselves from their own bodies. This can cause worse engine performance as well as difficulty recognizing one’s own emotional and bodily states. One study showed that girls who were prone to self-objectification were less physically coordinated than girls who showed less self-objectification.

In a paper we published in 2021, our team showed that women who think of themselves as objects have difficulty recognizing their own body temperature. To test this, we asked women how cold they felt while standing outside nightclubs and bars on chilly nights. We found that the more a woman was focused on her appearance, the less connection there was between the amount of clothing she was wearing and how cold she felt.

In some women, self-objectification can become the default way of thinking of themselves and navigating the world. High levels of this self-objectification can be associated with mental health consequences, including disordered eating, increased anxiety over one’s appearance and depression.

Evidence of harm

While we are not aware of any research directly exploring the connection between video meetings and self-objectification, some recent studies suggest that our concerns are well founded.

One study found that the more time women who are focused on their looks spent on video calls, the less satisfied they were with their appearance. Facial dissatisfaction also seems to play a role in Zoom fatigue, with women across all races reporting higher levels of Zoom fatigue than their male counterparts.

For better or worse, the virtualization of daily life is here to stay. One way to reduce the negative effects of endless video meetings is to use the “hide self-view” function during online interactions. This hides your image from yourself but not others.

Turning off self-view is easy to do and may help some people, but many others – including us – feel that this puts them at a disadvantage. This may be because being aware of your appearance has benefits, despite the risk of self-objectification and the harms it brings. A huge body of research shows that looking attractive has tangible social and economic benefits, for women more so than for men. By monitoring your appearance, it is possible to anticipate how you will be evaluated and adjust accordingly. Therefore, we expect that people, especially women, will continue to keep the camera on for the duration of their Zoom calls.

A huge amount of previous research suggests that Zoom calls are a perfect storm for self-objectification and that the harms disproportionately affect women. It seems that the already uneven playing field for women is exacerbated in online social interactions. Any small reprieve from staring at a literal projection of yourself will be a net gain for your well-being, especially for women.

This article is republished from The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts, under a Creative Commons license.

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Men’s Health

Ebenezer Samuel Shares 3 Factors Every Workout Program Needs



You might have a hard time determining exactly what you need for your workout plan. That’s okay! There are some specific exercises that you know you should probably include in your training in some form, and your goals (and time and energy constraints) will dictate much of the rest.

Still, there are a few factors that every training plan should include if you want to build muscle, improve your strength, and move better. Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS is here to help explain.

“This is a good way to make sure that you’re filling in gaps in your program,” he says of these guidelines. “It’s gonna help you stay nice and strong and help you build the muscle you want.”

The 3 Things Your Workout Program Needs

  • Workout Must 1: Move Fast

    1 to 3 times per week

    Samuel wants you to move almost at least once a week as part of your training plan. That doesn’t just mean that you should pencil in a long jogging session every weekend, however; he wants this fast movement to be with a definite purpose.

    “What I want you to do is think about moving weight with urgency,” he says. “One of the first things you’re gonna lose is the ability to be explosive, so we’ve got to work extra hard to maintain that.”

    Crucially, you won’t be able to go as hard as Samuel wants for every single rep. You’ll be much more limited in your explosive movements than other exercises. For this, he suggests that you start your workout session one to three times a week with an explosive movement, like a kettlebell swing, broad jump, or even sprints.

    For strength based programs, you can introduce explosion by working with lower increments and focusing on powering the weight up.

      1 to 4 times per week

      Samuel cautions you from taking on any program that only challenges you to work with light weights and lots of reps. You won’t be able to build strength and muscle as well without going heavy, so it’s essential to breaking through plateaus and accomplishing your goals. “We have to challenge ourselves with new loads that we are not always prepared to lift—that’s one of the key things in strength training,” he says. “And that’s missing if you’re only picking up a 25-pound dumbbell, if you’re only working with bodyweight, and if you never load past what you think you’re capable of.”

      There are limits to this rule; you won’t be able to load up on every type of movement, particularly isolation exercises like biceps curls. But you can (and should) go heavy with some of the core exercises, like deadlifts, squats, rows, and more (mostly compound exercises). Just make sure that you’re smart when you go heavy, and cut the reps (down to 4 to 6, and sometimes even lower).

      • Workout Must 3: Control Your Body Weight

        Every day

        This might seem counterintuitive to the tip that came just before—but the key here is balance, not doing the exact same thing for every training session. Working with only your bodyweight focuses you to home in on the way you’re moving, according to Samuel. “We need to understand how things change when you’re moving only your bodyweight.”

        Samuel lists several examples of bodyweight-only moves, including pushups, pullups, and chinups. All of these exercises depend on multiple muscle groups working together to create total-body tension, particularly the core. Once you take those principles to alternatives that use gear, like the lat pulldown for the pullup, there’s less need for full body coordination.

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Men’s Health

London’s most ‘dangerous’ prisons and the serial killers, murderers and rapists who are locked up there



There are currently 117 prisons in England and Wales, each of them locking away some of the country’s most terrifying and depraved criminals. With a population of nine million, London is home to several prisons which are based across the capital.

Each prison is placed into a different category, depending on the criminals it houses and the offenses they have committed. Beginning with Category A prisons, they house the city’s worst male prisoners who are often contained in high-security cells due to the danger they pose to the public or national security. Within London, only one prison has this status, and it is most commonly associated with the Old Bailey, as criminals are sent there following conviction.

Notorious killers such as Ian Brady, Dennis Nilsen, Michael Adebolajo and Wayne Couzens have been housed in high security cells in London. Levi Bellfield, a murderer responsible for the deaths of three women, was reportedly left begging prison guards to place him in solitary confinement at HMP Belmarsh, after receiving threats from his fellow inmates.

MyLondon have taken a look at London’s prisons and the criminals they keep locked away from our streets.

READ MORE: London criminals are now hiding drugs and weapons under kids’ slides and in loose bricks

HMP Belmarsh

Belmarsh Prison houses many of London’s most high-profile criminals
(Image: Getty Images)

Few prisons in Britain have such a notorious reputation as HMP Belmarsh, where criminals who are convicted at the Old Bailey are often sent. The Category A male prison is often used in high-profile cases, particularly those concerning national security.

Within the prison, there is a unique unit called the High Security Unit which can house 48 of Britain’s most dangerous convicts, and the prison is one of only three high security jails in England and Wales.

Despite this, around a third of prisoners stated they felt unsafe, with levels of violence having increased since an inspection in 2015. According to the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report in 2018, the prison had a small number of inmates who required “specific management ” to their high-profile status with the public and the media.

His current inmates include Michael Adebolajo, a convicted Islamic extremist who murdered British Army soldier Lee Rigby. Alongside Michael Adebowale, he attacked the 27-year-old outside Woolwich Barracks with knives and a meat cleaver, and attempted to behead him in front of horrified onlookers.

The killer of Conservative MP David Amess, who was repeatedly stabbed during a constituency surgery, which also recently handed a whole life order and sent to HMP Belmarsh. Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old Islamic State sympathiser, had researched over 250 MPs before deciding to carry out his attacks, and told the Old Bailey that he had “no regrets”.

Danyal Hussein, the 19-year-old Satanist who murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry in a park at Wembley is also incarcerated within the high-security prison. He murdered the two women in a random attack that he believed would act as a “sacrifice” to a demon named “the mighty king Lucifuge Rofocale” to enable him to win the lottery.

One of his most terrifying former inmates include serial killer Levi Bellfield, who was housed there during his Old Bailey trial in 2011 for the murder of 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler. According to The Mirror, he begged prison bosses to move him into solitary confinement after he received multiple death threats from other prisoners. The dad-of-11 is a rapist, sex offender and kidnapper, and is currently serving a whole life term for the murders of Dowler, Marsha McDonnell and Amélie Delagrange, as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.

Wayne Couzens was also kept at Belmarsh ahead of his sentencing, after he pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, rape and murder of marketing executive Sarah Everard. The 33-year-old had been walking back from Clapham Common when she was approached by the former Met Police officer, who tricked her into his car under the pretence of arresting her for breaching Covid-19 restrictions. He drove her two hours out of London before brutally murdering her and setting her body on fire to destroy the evidence.

Other current inmates include Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, neo-Nazi David Copeland who bombed a gay pub, and Stephen Port, referred to as the ‘Grindr Killer’ for murdering four men that he had contacted via dating apps.

HMP Wormwood Scrubs

Wormwood Scrubs has been plagued with gangland activity
(Image: (TMS))

Nicknamed ‘The Scrubs’, HMP Wormwood Scrubs is a Category B men’s prison in Hammersmith. Around 1,200 inmates reside across the five main wings, with one third of prisoners previously reporting that they had felt unsafe or had witnessed violence during their incarceration.

The prison today contains a separate wing for high-risk prisoners and another for those requiring intensive drug treatment. It has been reported that illicit drug activity was taking place within the prison, and the gangland activity was an ongoing threat to inmates. The prison recently made headlines after a refugee committed suicide in his cell after refusing food and talking about killing himself.

It has housed serial killers such as Dennis Nielsen and Ian Brady as well as ‘Britain’s most notorious prisoner’ Charles Bronson. Nilsen, a Scottish murderer and necrophile, killed at least twelve young men and boys between 1978 and 1983, before dissecting their bodies and disposing of them down the toilet. Meanwhile Brady, a psychopath responsible for the Moors Murders, also spent time at the prison before he died 2017. He and his girlfriend Myra Hindley had kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered five children before burying their bodies on the Yorkshire Moors.

Named as one of the most high-profile criminals in British history, Charles Bronson first started as a petty criminal during the 1970s, but his prison sentences were extended due to his violent assaults on prison staff. He has also previously spent time in HMP Belmarsh, and is currently locked up in HMP Woodhill.

British rapper Nines was jailed in October for importing 28kg of cannabis into the UK and is currently serving his sentence at HMP Wormwood Scrubs.

HMP Pentonville

Pentonville Prison in Islington, North London
(Image: Ian Waldie)

Based in Islington, HMP Pentonville is one of Britain’s oldest prisons, after it was first opened in 1842. The Category B institution is home to around 1,300 inmates, and is often used for criminals on remand.

In the 20th century, following the closure of the infamous Newgate Prison, Pentonville became the primary execution site in London. Between 1902 and 1961 a total of 120 were executed, including serial killer John Christie and Dr Crippen.

In recent years, it has drawn media attention after a number of high-profile convicts were able to escape. In 2006, a convicted arsonist escaped by clinging on to the underside of the prison van, whilst in 2012 a convicted murder made his getaway from within the confines of Pentonville.

A huge manhunt was launched in 2016 after two prisoners used diamond-tipped cutting equipment to break out of their cells to scale the walls. Prison staff only realized when they found pillows imitating bodies in their beds, and they were recaptured a few days later. Former justice secretary Michael Gove described it in 2015 as “the most dramatic example of failure” within the prison’s estate.

In 2019, it was described as “squalid and inhumane”, with a concern raised about the frequency of assaults on staff, averaging about 10 per month. It has remained largely unchanged in the 180 years it has been operational.

His famous former inmates included Oscar Wilde, Pete Doherty, Boy George and George Michael, who all spent a period of time in the prison for various charges.

HMP Wandsworth

HMP Wandsworth is one of the largest in the UK
(Image: Derek Harper)

The Category B prison in south west London is one of the largest in the UK and has been operating for 171 years. Often housing vulnerable convicts with mental health problems or drug addictions, it has a number of specialist units.

Spread across eight wings, there are over 1,428 men at the prison, and they are offered education and rehabilitation courses during their incarceration. However, a BBC investigation found that cannabis was openly smoked inside the prison and that there was a large-scale drug abuse problem. It also revealed that despite six suicides since 2015, not all staff carrying anti-ligature knives.

In recent years, inmates have included pop star Gary Glitter on pedophile offenses, after he was convicted of downloading child pornography. After a number of sexual assault convictions, he was most recently sentenced in 2015 for having sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13 years old.

Ronnie Kray, one half of the Kray Twins, was also held at the prison before being committed to Broadmoor Hospital. He and his brother had been organized crime leaders of London’s underworld, and had multiple convictions for murder, armed robbery, protection rackets and assaults.

Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker was recently sent to HMP Wandsworth after being found guilty of fraud at Southwark Crown Court.

HMP Feltham

Feltham Young Offenders Institute houses hundreds of teenagers
(Image: PA)

HMP Feltham is a young offenders institution for male juveniles, based in the borough of Hounslow. Separated into two parts, it houses 180 teenagers aged 15 to 18, and another section houses 360 adults aged 18 to 21.

Inmates are able to attend full-time or part-time education, workshops, vocational training and undertake apprenticeships. Reports however have stated that Feltham endures “enormous problems” with gang rivalries and postcode-related violence that has continued from the outside world.

In 2019, 20 prison officers were injured after a weekend of violence in the prison, with 13 needing hospital treatment. In the past, it has housed rapper J Hus and well-known grime artist Ghetts, whilst the grim MC Crazy Titch is currently serving a life sentence for murder.

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