Do You Need a Work-out or a Work-in?
We recently looked at the positive power of stress: how it boosts our confidence, increases our cardiovascular capacity, and builds our muscles. We learned that the key to encouraging these positive effects from stress is adequate recovery. Recovery includes getting enough sleep, lots of water, eating healthy foods and…more exercise!
That’s because moving is essential to recovery. Muscle contractions push blood through our veins and elevate our heart rate. This increases the flow of nutrient-rich blood to our cells, helping to clear waste and support the body as it restores homeostasis. The day after an intense training session, we don’t need a workout. We need a work-in (a term coined by holistic health and fitness icon Paul Chek).
We work out to apply stress to the body, burn calories and enjoy the challenge. We need to work in withlow-intensity movement to support tissue regeneration, stress adaptation, and to feel energized yet relaxed. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Try these four movements as a work-in after your next killer workout. They are multi-directional, engage many muscles, and are low-intensity, so they won’t add more stress. Best of all, these recovery movements will leave you feeling rested, calm, and healthy.
- Hip Flexor Stretch
Hip stretches like these leave us feeling relaxed and long. Sometimes we don’t realize how tight our hips really are until we start stretching!
Start in a kneeling position, with your left foot on the floor in front of you. Raise your arms over head as you press your hips forward.
|You should get a nice stretch along the front of your right hip. Return to the start position. Move slowly and repeat for 10 reps on each side|
2. Staggered Hip Rocking
This gentle movement of the hips will relieve pressure from the low back and knees.
Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Move your left hand ahead a little, and move your left knee a back a bit. Let your spine and tummy relax.
|Rock backward over your heels and then forward over your hands. This is not a big movement, and it should be gentle and slow. Repeat 12 times per side.|
3. Side Lunge with Rotation
Adding a rotation to a simple side lunge uses more muscles, moving more blood to the places that need it.
Stand with your arms out front at chest height. Maintain a long spine as you step out to the right side.
|When your right foot hits the ground, rotate your upper body to the right (as far as you comfortably can) as you sink back into the lunge. Do 12 reps on one side before switching legs.|
4. Rotational Lunge with Reach
The bending and twisting action in this movement engages the entire body, and is a fantastic stretch for the mid-back.
From standing, step back with your right foot and set it down in a 4 o’clock position and sink into a lunge.
|Keep your spine long as you bend and twist: reach for your right foot with your left hand, and stretch your right hand toward the ceiling. TIP: Look towards your right hand (and the ceiling) as you twist.|
Return to the start position and perform 8-10 reps on one side before repeating for 8-10 reps on the other side.
Want more working-in? Our dynamic flexibility and dynamic balance exercises make great recovery sessions.