So, following last week’s blog post, the feedback came in thick and fast, and one on the main things we discussed, was the sad fact that people simply did not love themselves enough to take the time to recover and repair the body post training.
This is one of the reasons I adore the Savasana section of every yoga class, this simply gives you the time to recover, reflect, breathe, embrace your achievement and appreciate your commitment to being healthy. Why else do we exercise if not for health? Nobody goes out there and trains intentionally to hurt the body or mind, so why do we not find the time to enjoy that feeling before rushing off back to your busy lives. Now Let’s talk about recovery.
Hot or Cold?
I’m a big believer in leaving the plunge pools and ice baths to the athletes and muscle masochists, but maybe give this a try instead - Start by standing under a cold shower, about 12 degrees C should do it, for one minute, then turn up the heat to approximately 40 degrees C for two to three minutes and repeat this sequence four times. The Journal of Physical Therapy in Sport supports the thinking that contrast bathing and the contrasting temperatures help to flush out any remaining lactic acid from exercised muscles and reduce post training soreness as we all know as DOMS.
Healthy Mind Health Body – “It is the mind that shapes the body”
As well as clearing the body of lactic acids & toxins we must also the same for the mind. If you find that the mind is constantly rushing about and you struggle to calm those busy thoughts, try putting pen to paper. On waking each morning, take 5-10 mins to simply let the mind run wild and pop every little idea, statement, question or curiosity down in a notepad. You can leave it there or refer to it later if you wish to explore these thoughts. By clearing out the subconscious junk mail folder in the brain, you allow the mind to accept new fresh information sensory or cognitive, acknowledge new ideas or perspectives and allow the free-flowing thought processes to keep on churning this allows you to keep both body and mind alert and feeling refreshed.
Loose Those Shoulder Pads, there so 80’s!
Take a moment and notice your shoulders and how they feel. Tight, tense and stiff is what clients mainly feedback. Every day I watch people sitting and standing slumped over their phones, computer and steering wheels. Or it’s the strutters out there both girls and boys who walk about like they're squaring up for a rumble with their shoulder bunched up around their ears. JUST LET IT GO… Relax…
We hold far too much tension in and around our neck and shoulders. This compressive elevated, chin poking position does nothing for the joints in the neck or the nerves that call this area of their body, home. Poor neck and shoulder posture can develop into shoulder pain and neurological symptom in the arms and hands. Often, poorly diagnosed Carpal Tunnel syndrome can simply be as simple as a malalignment of the neck and shoulder positions creating a similar symptom presentation due to a compressed or impinged nerve.
Ok, let’s give this a try -
Sit down, take some nice deep breaths in and melt the shoulders down the back of the rib cage. Say to yourself: 'and relax' and see how it feels when you repeat it a few times. Feel the shoulders and neck unwind. Now let’s add some breathing to this new-found relaxation state.
Take one hand on your belly and one hand on to your chest and take a minute to see which hand is moving more. If this is the chest hand we need to change this pattern around. Take your attention now to drawing the breath down into the base of the lungs, expand the ribs laterally out east and west and exhale deeply out of the mouth each time.
Now you’re ready to give the box breathing technique a try. Close your eyes, I want you to visualise the shape of a box in your mind. Follow this breathing pattern as you trace around the outline of the box.
1: Inhale through the nose—4,3,2,1.
2: Hold your breath—4,3,2,1.
3: Exhale through the mouth—4,3,2,1.
4: Hold the belly empty—4,3,2,1.
Repeat as needed.
I am sure for most of you now are seeing these longer runs creeping into your training program as you start to build up to race day and boy oh boy it sure takes it out of those legs. Here is a little refresh technique which you will find me doing after heavy leg days, long distance runs or randomly in airports after a long haul or two.
Right, simply lay on the floor, take a boulder or cushion and place it underneath your pelvis/bottom. Tuck the knees one at a time into your tummy and squeeze them tight. Now extend them up toward the sky while keeping the lower back lengthened and make sure the spine isn’t arching away from the cushion or floor. You may need to keep a small bend in the knees if you struggle with hamstring tightness with the legs up in the air.
If this is still a little too intense, move yourself close up to a wall and shuffle the bottom towards the wall while you let the extended legs rest up the wall. Make sure the hamstrings are relaxed and not pulling on the pelvis or shaking in the rest position. Close your eyes, practice your box breathing and enjoy for 3-5 mins. Light springy legs should follow.
*If you have low blood pressure please take care moving from the floor back up to standing. Take it in stages and breathe steadily throughout.
Feed Your Recovery
Eating a mixture of antioxidant – rich food can help reduce the onset of DOMS as many of them have anti-inflammatory properties. These are my top nibbles to pile on top of some protein rich yoghurt post training. Enjoy.
1: Dark Chocolate
2: Goji Berries
3: Wild Blueberries
6: Kidney Beans
A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning recently stated that wearing compression gear for at least one hour after a training session, not only keeps muscle soreness at bay, it helps improve performance the next day, which means getting a little squeeze is a great consideration for both men and women. So those impulse buys that sit in the bottom of the draws can actually help you prep for your next session, who knew?! Go get snug!
So, there you go, some of my top tips to keep you in tip top shape. Enjoy, breathe and stay in touch at www.studiobua.co.uk