We’ve finished off the holidays and are a couple of weeks into the New Year. You’re trying to start 2018 off healthy but you’re out of your routine and there’s a nasty stomach bug floating around. Never fear, we are here! (If you just had a flashback to Lost in Space, you’re not alone.) Here’s a few tips to get you through the Winter Woes.
So you’re hitting the gym daily as part of your New Year’s Resolution—way to start strong, Rock Star!—but you’re dreading Leg Day. Having to climb stairs after seems like torture. Your muscles tremble at the thought of more squats. They already feel like jelly from the 45 minutes on the treadmill. There is a way to help your muscles recover and still rock Leg Day!
Stretch—We knooow. You’ve heard it before and usually skip it. Those few minutes of stretching seem like a waste when you could have a longer hot shower. But take a few minutes about 30 minutes after your workout to stretch. This way your muscles have a nice stretch during recovery, especially if you workout in the morning and then sit at a desk the rest of the day. Your muscles will take cool in contracted positions if you’re sedentarily.
One of our favorite stretches is “Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose.” It’s a great stretch for calves, hamstrings, and low back. Here’s how to do it. Our other favorite is “Eagle Pose.” If you’ve come for a Migraine Relief Session, you’ve likely been recommended to do the arms from this pose daily to release shoulder/neck tension. Eagle Pose opens up major joints and promotes flexibility and balance (important as we get older). Go ahead, try it!
Eat right—This seems so simple but making sure you’re eating enough protein can reduce muscle soreness. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissue, including muscles. If your body doesn’t have the tools needed for recovery, recovery will be prolonged.
Get a massage—You knew we had to put a plug for a massage somewhere. Good news is that massage can actually help reduce muscle soreness and decrease recovery time. Vicious exercises can break down muscle fibers. Inflammation occurs during the healing process, often making workouts uncomfortable. Massage can help relieve this inflammation so you can get back to your workouts quicker. We often incorporate Thai Yoga (a type of passive stretching) for deeper stretching. This approach is especially good for hips and IT bands.
Post-Holiday Tiredness: You’ve made it through the holidays and the kids are finally back in school (thank goodness!). But you’re off your schedule, you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning; when you finally drag yourself to work, you feel exhausted. And you don’t get another day off until the Spring. The holidays can wreak havoc on a sleep schedule.
Stick to a schedule—Remember when Mom nagged you to go to bed every night at 9 PM? That’s because Mom knows best! Sticking to a schedule will help train your body into preparing for sleep. Just like an athlete training for the Super Bowl by practicing 100 passes every day, your body will begin to develop muscle memory and expect to go to bed at a certain time. It makes it much easier to fall asleep when your body’s expecting it.
Turn off the electronics—Screens are incredibly stimulating. Big time professionals at The National Sleep Foundation recommend turning off devices (or at least not looking at them one hour prior to bed). The blue wavelength light of screens increase cortisol (a stimulate for the brain) that makes us alert. Cortisol also inhibits melatonin production (needed for sleep).
Get massage—Alright, one more plug. An hour on the massage table can have the same restful benefits as 7-8 hours of sleep, which is the recommended amount of sleep The National Sleep Foundation recommends for adults! Talk about a win-win.
Post-Stomach Bug: It’s that time of year, again. Everyone and everyone’s kid has a stomach bug. It’s being passed around like those conversational hearts.
Wash your hands—It’s crazy simple and takes 30 seconds. Use warm water and soap. Don’t forget to get under your nails and the back of your hands. This simple step can prevent the spread of that nasty stomach bug and other virus/bacteria.
Rest—Avoid lots of physical activity. This allows your body a chance to fight without having to divert resources to muscle recovery. Stay hydrated. Binge your favorite Netflix series. And let your body recover.
Skip the massage—Seriously, if you’re not feeling well, reschedule your appointment. Massage increases circulation, which can accelerate that stomach bug. Imagine puking every five minutes instead of fifteen? Not very pleasant. Reschedule your session for the next week and use that time to rest.