Well-Being8th July 2016
Five simple strategies to boost recovery
Developing lifelong recovery health takes time, practice and dedication, but the rewards will pay off in terms of deeper sleep, reduced stress and increased performance. To get you started, here are our top tips to boost your recovery:
Shorten your workout– reducing your total workout time by 10-15 minutes will significantly boost your recovery. This is easier than you think, if you remain focused on your training and stick to your rest periods. Use this additional time to practice other recovery techniques.
Breath control– breathing techniques can not only relax and calm us, they can also improve circulation, which can aid recovery. To begin with, simply pay attention to your breathing – initially you may notice that most of the breath movement takes place in the shoulders and chest. As you begin to relax, the movement will occur lower in the abdomen and the shoulders will start to relax. With practice, you will be able to control your breath in as little as a minute.
Minute break– where possible during work time, take a minute break. During this time get up and walk around, look out of a window to relax your eyes, spend some time breathing deeply – in fact do anything that promotes relaxation. If it helps, set a reminder on your phone to take a minute break every 30 minutes.
Meditation– whilst meditation is best learned through guided instruction, try the following simple exercise to get you started: allow 5 minutes for this activity, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and sit comfortably with an upright posture. Close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. As your body begs to relax, notice any thoughts that come to mind. Rather than react to these thoughts, simply notice them and let them pass – returning to your breathing each time. With practice and guidance, you will notice better recovery and increased calmness
Dim the lights– the sleep hormone, melatonin, naturally increases as it gets dark, promoting deep sleep. Modern lifestyles continue to expose us to unnatural light (phones, laptops, TVs etc) even when it’s dark outside. This causes melatonin levels to decrease, and can disrupt our sleep patterns. To combat this, make an effort to reduce use of laptops, phones and TVs at least 2 hours before bedtime. You can also dim the lights in your house in the evenings. This will help increase your melatonin levels before bed and promote better sleep patterns.