As a society, we are inundated with different workout suggestions and pressure to maintain a sharp physique. There will always be new classes to try, gyms to join, diet programs to start, and the list goes on. The pressure to stay on top of it all can be daunting and stressful! But what about committing ourselves to proper rest and recovery? Our bodies need time to properly restore themselves to promote healing, prevent injury, and grow stronger. For our mental and emotional health, our minds need the same.

1) Cryotherapy

Standing in a -150 F chamber in your underpants for upwards of 3 minutes is rejuvenating? The answer…YES! I was drawn to try cryotherapy for the athletic recovery benefits, such as relief from muscle soreness and joint pain. I became hooked on it for the physiological and mental effects. After a session in the freezer, you can expect to feel your mood elevate almost instantly. Your body will flush with delicious warmth, and your skin will feel smoother. I have also personally noticed a reduction in anxiety after incorporating cryotherapy into my routine once a week.

2) Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy can be targeted to specific areas, or you can expose your whole body to it through full panels or infrared saunas. Red light therapy boosts healing and energy production at a cellular level, promoting pain relief, skin health, and detoxification. This is a gentle, safe wellness booster.

3) Fascial Stretching

Fascial stretch therapy is another wonderful way to get into the “hard to reach” areas of the body. Through a series of assisted, hands on stretches, range of motion increases, muscle soreness lessens, and tension is reduced. All you have to do is rest on the practitioner’s table and relax through the process.

4) Meditation

Many people think that in order to meditate, you have to be able to stop thinking. Luckily, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Meditation is the practice of learning to observe your thoughts without judgement. When we can witness our thoughts without becoming absorbed by them, we learn that not all thoughts require action and not everything need be controlled. As we build a meditation practice, focusing on the breath can act as an anchor to prevent us from getting swept away. I recommend 10 minutes of meditation a day, but even 2-3 minutes of slow, deep breathing can do wonders for your mind and spirit.

5) Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is unique in that it accesses deep tissue in our bodies. Through long holds in postures that target fascia and deep layers of muscle, the body is encouraged to release stored tension little by little. Controlled breathing during each stretch maximizes this effect. You can certainly practice this at home, but if you are able to attend a led class at any of Birmingham’s wonderful yoga studios, you can expect the teacher to facilitate deep relaxation.