Recovery is definitely getting more attention these days as we are slowly realizing that it is vitally important to our performance in athletics and life, go figure! 😉 I know I’m definitely guilty of putting recovery on the back burner, but through my various experiences I’ve definitely come to realize that it needs to be a priority if I want to function at my best both physically and mentally. Thus, I decided to compile a list with some things that I’ve been looking into regards to recovery for the mind and body. Hope you enjoy!
The Things Only You Can See When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim. I recently began reading this book and love it already! It is written by a Zen Buddhist teacher in South Korea who began to answer questions on various social media platforms on how to deal with the challenges of life, and now it is compiled into an easy-to-read resource! Great for a quick reference on a certain life issue and a ton of wisdom in simple little passages!
There is No App for Happiness: Finding Joy and Meaning in the Digital Age with Mindfulness, Breathwork, and Yoga by Max Strom. I’ve yet to read this, but it is on my list after watching his Ted Talk! (see Deep Breathing below)
Thanks to my friend Ali Hartman writing this post for #WellfieWednesday, I watched this Ted Talk on deep breathing by Max Strom. I’ve definitely been interested in guided meditation for a while, but neglected to realize just how effective deep breathing can be for relaxation. Give it a try and see what you think!
Float Therapy/Sensory Deprivation Tanks
I recently heard about this after listening to this awesome episode of The Knowbodies podcast and was immediately intrigued! This entails literally floating in a giant bath tub/small pool (whatever you’d like to call it) for a period of time, escaping the constant sensory input from the environment that surrounds us daily. So what causes you to actually float in the water? Epsom salt is added in a concentration that increases the density of the water, which allows the body to float when submerged. While I’ve yet to try this, I plan to because I can definitely see the benefits of this from both a mental and physical standpoint!
Headspace: This app was created by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk and circus artist. I’ve personally tried the free trial that they offer and I really like it! Andy is the voice of all of the meditations and his voice is rather soothing. Headspace has a free trial, but it is a membership based platform. Click here to check out Andy’s awesome Ted Talk on Mindfulness.
Simple Habit: I recently found out about this app and it is really cool! Like Headspace it is also a membership based platform, but they offer a few free meditations to check out. With the membership, they have an extensive array of meditations covering all subjects of life and they also have a variety of people narrating the meditations.
We all know eating healthy food is good for us, but there are some foods that can be great for recovery in particular. I had previously heard about the benefits of cherries to help with sleep, but more recently heard about a physical benefit as well! This article delves into the potential benefit of tart cherry juice to decrease exercise induced muscle damage.
This may not be considered a recovery tactic in terms of benefitting exercise induced muscle damage, but the benefits of sauna use are very interesting and worthwhile to be aware of! Plus, I would argue that the act of relaxing in a sauna is very therapeutic (if you don’t mind heat)! Here’s a post from Tim Ferriss’ blog written by Rhonda Patrick from FoundMyFitness that talks about all of the wonderful benefits of sauna use.
Sleep is a beautiful thing! Unfortunately sometimes sleep is an afterthought when it is probably one of the most important things we can do for ourselves! I can attest to this as I’ve struggled with insomnia on and off since beginning physical therapy school. Thus, I’ve looked into various resources to improve my sleep; it’s definitely still a work in progress! Here are some really interesting podcast episodes on the topic: Doc Parsley on Barbell Shrugged Podcast, Michael Breus on The Knowbodies Podcast, and Allison Brager on Doc and Jock Podcast. Say Good Night to Insomnia is a book that I also found to be quite helpful! What I’ve gathered over the last 3 years or so is that really what it comes down to is making sleep a priority. It’s not fun or sexy, or some super cool biohacking tip. If we want our sleep to improve, we have to commit to doing what it takes to make it better! Just my two cents!
Whole Body Cryotherapy
For those who are unaware with the term ‘cryotherapy’ it’s just a fancy word for cold therapy (examples include ice packs, ice baths, etc…). When we talk about whole body cryotherapy here it’s not referring to putting ice packs everywhere or being submerged in an ice bath, but rather standing in a hollow tube that uses liquid nitrogen to pump out cold air. Sounds brrrrreath taking right?! I’d like to give it a try! For more information on it check out this video from Runner’s World and these resources from Athlete’s Potential.
Yoga in general is great! I’ve been doing yoga for the past 10 years on and off and have found it to be very beneficial for both mind and body. For recovery purposes I would recommend restorative yoga in particular. Restorative yoga is often much slower and is as much about physical relaxation as it is about mindfulness. This can be great in particular if you want a little more than just guided meditation. These types of classes are typically offered at any yoga studio and/or health club that offers yoga classes.
This is definitely not an all encompassing list, and I’m sure I’ll be doing an update to this at some point, but hope you find it worthwhile for now!
Until next time, happy recovery 🙂