What is recovery? I call it coming home. Checking in and giving our bodies (the only house we get in this lifetime) what they need to be functioning well and with ease.
What creates the need for recovery? Daily life, hard exercise, lack of exercise, stress, work. You get the picture! Do you already exercise? Great! You still need recovery! Recovery helps keep us mobile so we can do all the things we love. Mobility is the intersection of strength and flexibility. We need strong and supple muscles to help us have good range of motion and healthy joints! Let’s explore some types of recovery that can help us get where we want to go in our bodies with ease.
Passive - massage, fascial stretch (fascia = the connective tissue that surrounds everything in our bodies - muscles, organs, you name it), chiropractic, acupuncture, oil treatments, compression therapy, infrared sauna, facials.
These passive recoveries have different levels of efficacy based on what your goals are. Say you are having muscle pain, a facial might not be your top choice. It can create a high level of relaxation in your body if you’re feeling anxious or high levels of stress, though.
Active - walking, cycling, certain types of yoga: yin, restorative, nidra or irest, swimming, pickling.
When I talk about these forms of exercise above as active recovery, I’m referring to an easy pace that keeps your heart rate low and promotes blood flow. Not an all out bike ride up giant hills or a fast, competitive swim, etc.
When and why?
What are your daily activities and responsibilities? Are you an athlete? A working mom? A desk jockey? A combo of all three and then some?
We need to consistently move our bodies in ways to combat flexion (sitting and internally rotated in the upper body) - our near constant state when working any job. We also need to consider that we need to be training our hearts (cardio), our muscles (strength) and working on our mobility (joint range of motion) and balance throughout our lives.
Does this feel like A LOT? Well, it is. Many of us go through life not really thinking about our bodies and expecting them to jump and do whatever it is we want from them at a moment's notice. We need to care for, cultivate and train our bodies so that we’re ready for the hard and fun stuff when it comes along. I love that I can roll around with my niece and nephew on the floor, beat them in foot races and teach them yoga. I’m the faunty (or fun aunt as one of my clients so aptly named herself). I love being able to run around on the pickle ball court for 5 hours if I want, or go for a run, or climb up aerial silks. These are the gifts of a lot of hard work and training that have prepared my body to move well and with ease. I want for you to experience that ease as well. It takes hard work, commitment and showing up for yourself consistently. You will be amazed at how good you can feel and how ready you will be to tackle any challenge if you give your body what it needs to properly recover.
My typical recovery buffet:
I participate in some form of recovery every single day. Most days I have active recovery on the menu and 3-4x a week I engage in some type of passive or nearly passive recovery.
These types of movements and therapies are part of the picture, the other key building blocks are adequate and restful sleep, proper hydration (water and electrolytes), and nourishing foods that help repair your muscles and set you up to keep at it!
If you have questions about proper nutrition or are wanting to get into a movement plan but don’t know where to start, I have some great resources on my website to help you with those things. I am at Urban Hippie to help you with your soft tissue (muscles, fascia, joint capsule) whenever you need me!
I understand that we all have different time commitments based on our work and family life, etc., but I challenge you to reprioritize some of your time for your own upkeep. You will never regret taking care of yourself. Instead of chasing pain and feeling at odds with your body, make the choice to care for and connect with your body in a curious way and give yourself the dedication and consistency needed to move and live with ease.