After a solid week of challenging workouts, it is time to pamper yourself a little. Recovery is crucial, as we know, in order for the body to grow and repair, so we need a day each week designated for true rest and recovery. And, that day may include vegging out a bit with a good book or a game that you taped to watch, but there is nothing like a little pampering to set up the next week for training success.
Consider the following pampering strategies, which are good for the mind, body and soul and begin integrating regular pampering sessions for yourself and those you love. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, or pampering session, please consult your physician.
Pampering Strategy No. 1
Get a massage — There are many types of massages possible, so you need to consider what outcome you are seeking. If it is purely relaxation, then chat with the therapist to make certain that is what they are prepared to perform. Conversely, if you are looking for a deep tissue massage which will concentrate on the deeper fascia and connective tissue, you will want to request that approach. Both are fantastic with the latter being a little uncomfortable as the therapist mobilizes waste by-products of energy production. However, you are always in control of the pressure applied so just communicate clearly and then experience the wonderful benefits that massage can provide.
Pampering Strategy No. 2
Self myofascial release — All you need is a foam roller and the direction of a certified, qualified fitness professional who has training in myofascial release to guide you through the “rolling” experience. The beauty of this approach is that you may do it yourself. Foam rollers are inexpensive, but you do want to purchase a good quality one so that it will last. You may spend five minutes rolling a trigger point, or thirty minutes rolling the soft tissue of the entire body.
Pampering Strategy No. 3
Take a relaxation/stretching fitness class or meditative/restorative yoga class — What would be wonderful would be to take one of these classes, which may include myofascial release followed by a massage. Talk about floating through the rest of your recovery day.
Pampering Strategy No. 4
Meditation and diaphragmatic breathing — Meditative techniques, such as Transcendental Meditation, have been shown to lower stress levels and to refresh the mind which then impacts the body. Spending 15-20 minutes on your recovery day meditating (or any other day for that matter) pays off big dividends in terms of stress management. Additionally, a session of diaphragmatic breathing inhaling oxygen through your nose, inflating the lunges, expanding the diaphragm, pausing briefly and then slowly exhaling the carbon dioxide through pursed lips, may slow the heart rate and calm the mind/body. When practiced regularly, deep breathing may have a dramatic impact on stress reduction and control.
Pampering Strategy No. 5
Hot bath, hot springs, jacuzzi, hot tub, short bouts of warm sunshine — One of my favorite pampering and therapeutic strategies following a challenging physical activity week is to sit in the hot tub for about 15-20 minutes followed by a short bout of lying in the sun, with sunscreen of course. The level of spirit elevation, recovery and relaxation is tremendous.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her blog at www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.