Movement sparks progress. For high performers, this forward momentum is powered by currents in science, technology, and subculture. To celebrate ASICS' GEL-KAYANO® 25 and GEL-CUMULUS® 20, Furthermore and ASICS have partnered to harness the power of these currents and show you how to channel them into actual results.
“People often forget that emotional and psychological factors impact their bodies,” says Ally Berlingieri, a Tier 3 personal trainer at Equinox Soho in New York City.
It’s true that intense workouts cause physical stress, but athletes also deal with stress from things like work pressure, family life, and social responsibilities, says Derrick Price, San Diego-based director of education of the Institute of Motion, a health coaching company founded by Michol Dalcourt, a member of the Equinox Health Advisory Board.
“Stress is cumulative, and each form needs to be managed with different recovery strategies,” he adds. “It’s paramount that we identify stressors outside of the four walls of the gym and offer solutions for them.”
If you constantly push without allowing yourself the time to reset, you’ll eventually burn out. In the video above, Berlingieri demonstrates three diverse recovery methods that rejuvenate your muscles and your mind. “A lot of these methods have been around for a while, but we’ve turned a blind eye to them as an industry,” says Julie Wandzilak, a Tier X coach at Equinox Columbus Circle in New York City. “It’s always been a ‘do more, work more,’ type of environment.”
Berlingieri’s favorite of the three is 5, 3, 7 breathing. “I realized the importance of deep breathing while having a heart procedure,” she says. (She had an atrial ablation after suffering a stroke at age 23.) During the surgery, she was awake and could see the doctors as they worked.
“To say I was scared is an understatement,” she recalls. “Deep breathing kept me calm and grounded throughout the procedure and while recovering from my stroke overall. It allows me to release tension, anxiety, and any other emotions I have built up.”
That’s the power basic recovery techniques can have. In turn, they have strong effects on your fitness. Below, three easy ways you can diversify your recovery routine.
The benefits: Any time your body is stressed, whether it’s from an intense workout or a chaotic day at the office, it activates sympathetic tone, or fight-or-flight mode. Slow breath work increases parasympathetic tone and activates the body’s rest-and-digest system, Price says. This state can ease muscle tightness, lower blood pressure, and improve digestion.
“Breath timing is always important, but most of us have short breaths and normally we don’t notice it,” Wandzilak says. “The long exhalation allows you to bring attention to the breath and expel any air left in the lungs for total relaxation.”
Complete this breathing routine after a tough workout or right before you go to sleep. “The more you practice the breathing techniques, the more your body will have a response to them,” Wandzilak says.
How to do it: Lie down on a yoga mat or in bed and get comfortable. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest, so you can feel them rise and fall with each breath. “Your body responds to any type of tactile stimulus, so this hand placement makes you more aware of your breathing and helps you expand the diaphragm even more,” Wandzilak says.
When you’re in position, inhale through your nose for five seconds, hold your breath for three seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for seven seconds. Continue doing this for five to eight minutes.
The benefits: “Applying essential oils helps you relax through the olfactory system,” says Berlingieri. The calming effect of the scents can also have an indirect effect on pain and tension. “Because it increases parasympathetic tone, it relaxes your mindset,” Wandzilak explains. Use this technique before a meditation, in the shower post-workout, or before bed.
How to do it: Rub essential oils on your wrists, chest, forehead, or temples (to reduce tension headaches). “The chest is a great spot because that gives the scent a direct path into your nasal passages,” says Wandzilak, who notes that lavender is best for relaxation.
In the shower, step out of the direct stream of water and massage a few drops of oil on your neck, shoulders, back, or anywhere else you feel tense or sore, she adds. “Depending on how steamy it is, being in the shower can open up the nasal passageways and pores to increase the effect of aromatherapy,” Wandzilak says. Wash it off before you step out.
The benefits: This pose helps release tension throughout the body, especially in the adductors, which tighten up after long periods of sitting, Price says. It also restores proper breathing that’s initiated through the diaphragm rather than the neck and upper chest cavity, which often happens as a result of chronic stress. Hold this pose after your workout or before bed.
How to do it: Lie on a yoga mat with your legs in butterfly position. If you have a TriggerPoint MB2 Roller or tennis ball, you can ease upper-back tension by placing it between your shoulder blades, Wandzilak says. You can also support your knees with bolsters or blocks to help your legs fully relax.
While in this pose, practice diaphragmatic breathing, with one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Hold for three to five minutes.