Fitness / Health

Recovery and Self Care

Does anyone else get sore from working out? No? Just me? Well, I do get sore from working out, and typically, the advice I’ve gotten is stretch, rest, ice, and ibuprofen. Mostly, stretching and resting is needed. But for the past few months, I’ve been adding foam rolling to my recovery methods. I can’t tell you in scientific terms what it is doing, but I feel better after doing it. After some researching, I found that foam rolling is part of a group of exercises that emphasize mobility. “Mobility work, ideally, is focused on restoring lost ranges of motion and returning your muscles to their neutral lengths…” (Robert Camacho, Mobility Work: You’re Doing It Wrong (and Too Long)) The long term goal of mobility is to work on skeletal alignment and open the body up to proper movement patterns.

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Dr. Kelly Starrett is a very vocal mobility advocate and an author of some excellent books. Becoming a Supple Leopard (above) is a dense text filled with information on caring for your body. Not only does the book contain recovery principles, it has prescriptions for what ails you. These prescriptions are mobility work for specific areas that have been demonstrated earlier in the book. Dr. Starrett also put in examples of two week mobility programs, and the programs last about ten to fifteen minutes total. As part of teaching you how to design your own program, the book shows movement archetypes based on typical exercises. The movement archetypes are meant to demonstrate proper body mechanics, and if you use these movements, there are recovery techniques that go with it.

After checking it out twice from the library, I finally bought my own copy. This will be part of my learning for the next few years. My favorite part, so far, is the step by step instruction on how to correct standing posture. The anatomy sketches are also very helpful for me. Currently, I’m doing some of the basics, and when I’m done, I feel better.

The book makes some claims that aren’t backed up by citation, and it’s worth noting that there are some fantastic statements made. I don’t put much stock in those claims and tend to ignore them. While these statements are extreme, the movements and exercises are helpful. So, I suggest ignoring them and paying attention to the mobility work outlined. These exercises are solid and helpful.

Visit Dr. Starrett’s website Mobility WOD for more information. He also has a lot of good information on his YouTube channel as well. See above for an excellent example.

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Jill Miller created a program based around Yoga and self therapy products to promote life long health. Her book, Roll Model, is based around self care. This book also has excellent anatomy sketches that help maximize the book’s lessons. The book is jam packed with information and testimonials surrounding Yoga Tune Up. It’s an easy read with plenty of pictures for reference.

For me the description of the therapy techniques makes this book worthwhile. Ms. Miller is thorough in describing the motions and feel of the techniques. I loved the anatomy lessons. As a non-professional, I don’t need to know intricately about my anatomy or memorize the names. So, I can use this book as a quick reference for recovery. I liked this books and her ideas enough that I recently ordered some of her Yoga Tune Up therapy balls.

This book also makes some large claims about returning health. As with Dr. Starrett’s book, the claims held little credibility for me. They could be true, but really it doesn’t matter to my own personal life. Also, this book was dedicated to massage with therapy balls; so, it provides depth in one technique but eschews other tools in favor of the therapy balls. For someone looking for info on foam rolling or banded distraction, this isn’t your source.

Visit Ms. Miller’s website Yoga Tune Up for more information. Her YouTube channel has very good videos as well. See above for an excellent example.

Overall, these two books work great together. I can’t say that the techniques healed me or that I’m pain free, but I can say that what I’ve learned from these books have helped me. They have helped me recover mobility and make me feel better. Both books are a good addition to an exercise regimen, and the best part is that they don’t require a large amount of time. An extra ten to fifteen minutes a day to improve your body. Check out these books; I highly recommend them.


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