As spin class devotees, aging baby boomers, emerging college athletes, weekend warriors or pro bodybuilders, we’re not immune to injury. In combination with cardiovascular and strength training, lies another area of fitness that addresses just that — restorative fitness.
Restorative fitness focuses on easing pain and encouraging preventative measures to injury by improving joint mobility, muscle flexibility, circulation and reducing inflammation. Outside the gym, restorative fitness includes eating a well-balanced diet, managing stress and getting quality sleep. Below, we take a deeper look at this to understand how to effectively use it in collaboration with your workout.
4 ways to balance out your workouts with restorative fitness
1. Get to know recovery tools
These days, the mat section at the gym looks like a child’s playroom. Foam rollers, lacrosse balls, foot rollers, TheraBands, massage rollers, trigger point massage balls and even the Theragun® are common pieces of restorative. As muscles get overworked, it’s important to roll out sore, tight knots in the connective tissue, or fascia of the body.
2. Join a mobility workout
Your joints and muscles need special attention to ensure their range of motion doesn’t become so limited that they cause inflammation, injury or deterioration of the joints. No mobility class at your gym? Ask a trainer to take you through a series of exercises. Examples of mobility exercises include a spinal thoracic twist on your side, shoulder flossing or dynamic hip stretches.
3. R.I.C.E. (Rest, ice, compression, elevate)
The old adage to heal an injury is to rest, ice, compress and elevate (R.I.C.E) an injury. Preventative measures aren’t much different. Not over-doing it at the gym and saving time to rest and put your feet up, can be of huge benefit. Icing injuries, or taking it up a notch with ice baths or cryotherapy, can reduce swelling and inflammation. Wearing compression socks or compression boots can increase circulation and remove metabolic waste, lactic acid.
4. Try a non-power yoga class
Take the power out of power yoga to recoup from your workouts. Restorative yoga practices slower movements, light stretching and the overall art of slowing down. Poses are often held for a longer period of time to allow the muscles to relax and open. Equipment often includes bolsters, yoga blocks, rolled towels and blankets.
Having an imbalanced workout regime is like having an imbalanced diet. Eating junk food regularly can decrease energy and increase risk for illness and obesity. Working out without restorative fitness can do the same. Mobility class, anyone?
While we love this insight, we also recommend discussing your health goals with your licensed healthcare professional. They can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you in deciding what would be a helpful addition to your routine.