by Katrina Falor
Recovery—it’s truly where the magic happens when it comes to making changes in your body. When you exercise, you’re creating small amounts of damage to your muscles and when you rest, those muscles heal and come back stronger.
If you’re training regularly, an added focus on recovery will be an absolute game-changer. There are plenty of ways you can amp up your recovery while also increasing your flexibility, and the great news is that they’re all relaxing, restorative, and feel so good!
Some of my favorite ways to recover include restorative yoga, static stretching, using compression socks, vibration therapy (try tools like rollers, balls, and the HyperVolt), and the MELT Method®, a self-care treatment where you use special tools to give yourself a massage. It works with your fascial and nervous systems to promote healing, reduce pain, and combat the effects of aging. Try them all and see what works best for you. Finding something you truly enjoy is key to making it a part of your daily routine.
To avoid overtraining, it’s important to ensure your muscles have time to fully recover from your workouts before using them again; if you're still sore, give those areas some time to rest! If you’re aching all over but still want to do something productive in the gym, implement a mobility routine that will get you moving without applying too much stress to your body (see my other Sustainable Fitness article on movement prep for some ideas). Gentle movements will enhance the healing process.
Post-Workout Flexibility Routine
Hold each stretch for 1-3 minutes.
Neck Decompression: Drop your left ear towards your left shoulder while reaching your fingertips on your right hand out away from your body. For a deeper stretch, place your left hand just above your right ear and apply a small amount of pressure. Alternate sides.
Chest Stretch: Stand in an open doorway and place your right forearm on the frame with a 90-degree bend in your elbow. Slowly step forward until you feel a stretch in your chest and the front of your shoulder. Hold this stretch for the desired amount of time and repeat on the other side.
Seated Hamstring Stretch: Sit with both legs extended out in front of you (you can sit on a pillow or folded blanket to be more comfortable). Fold forward from the waist, reaching for your toes. Use a strap if needed.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold: From the seated hamstring stretch, move your legs away from each other as far as possible and walk your hands forward between your legs. Keep your chest lifted and your spine long.
Reclined Pigeon: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Cross your right ankle over the top of your left thigh. Bring your left knee towards your chest and thread your right arm between your legs. You can interlace your fingers behind your left thigh or on top of your left shin. Use a strap if needed.
Child's Pose: Come onto your hands and knees. Bring your big toes together and take your knees out wide. Send your hips back towards your heels and reach your arms forward on the mat. Allow your forehead to settle to the mat and relax into the pose.
Legs Up Wall: Place a cushion or folded blanket beside a wall. Sit on the cushion with your left side up against a wall. Gently turn your body to the left as your prop your legs up against the wall. Lie down on your back and relax. Spend up to 15 minutes in this pose to relax the body, reduce stress, and improve circulation.
This stretching routine can be done daily to relax your muscles and encourage recovery. Make this part of your nightly regimen to set yourself up for a restful sleep so your body's natural healing mechanisms can do their job overnight!
During your next visit to Red Mountain, I invite you to attend our MELT® and stretch classes offered daily to find new ideas for improving your recovery.
About Katrina Falor
Katrina Falor, NASM-CPT is a group fitness instructor and certified personal trainer, and recently completed training in MELT Method® Hand & Foot and Level 1. Her wellness journey of rebuilding strength and mobility began after years of struggling with pain caused by an ATV accident that left her with a broken back and pelvis. She is passionate about helping people find the fun in fitness and strives to create pain-free, safe, and enjoyable programs for Red Mountain guests.