The Quieter Side of Fitness
While I love my workouts – challenging my muscles and cardiovascular system- lately I have spent a great deal of time exploring the quieter side of fitness and wellness. This quieter side takes me on a path to discover the benefits of massage, deep relaxation, stretching, and soft tissue work. Yes, I find it a blast to workout — it’s fun! But I also find it inspiring and, potentially, more meaningful to my health and well-being to tend to the more mindful elements of fitness as I age.
Here’s why I like the quieter side of fitness:
- It helps keep the aches and pains at bay and enhances my ability to MOVE!
- It helps with improving my focus and creativity.
- It helps me stay grounded and aware of what works for me (and what doesn’t).
So here are my favorite things to do. Listed in no particular order as the priority is dependent upon what is going on with my body and in my mind at any moment.
Nothing beats floating for deep relaxation!
What is floating?
A few years ago, I stumbled upon a float tank place downtown Chicago. This sensory deprivation experience that comes from floating in a few inches of heavily salted water blew me away!
The water, the salt, the dark – the combination is highly therapeutic and pretty much “forces” you into a meditative state. You don’t even have to try to meditate, it just happens!
Some people float once a week. Others go once a month. I have used floating as a way to deal with stress in my life. So I go more frequently when life feels chaotic. I do try to go once every few months. My mind is so quiet when I am done. The tension has been eased from my body. There is very little effort, all you have to do is float – that’s the great part!
Where to float?
There are two places in the Wheaton area that offer floating.
Annica Float Club (I call this a float spa!)
Here is the link to their website floatnaperville.com. Tell them that Pam Strand sent you if you go. Say hi for me!
DeMoulin Family Chiropractic
This location recently opened their float tank. It was a very nice experience. Check out the float therapy page on their website to learn more demoulinchiro.com
Therapeutic massage is a wonderful way to relax and heal your muscles!
The value of massage therapy
One of my friends recently had her first massage. Afterwards she told me that she no longer viewed massage as a special treat but rather a necessity for her wellness. She has some back issues and is on her feet a great deal during the day. After one massage, she was convinced that she needed to do this regularly.
I second that!
I have been getting regular massages for the last 20 years. I did take a hiatus for a few years but got back at it when my body really started hurting. The demands of my lifestyle put a great deal of stress on my body and muscles. Stretching, foam rolling and resting on my own just did not refresh my muscles enough. I needed someone who knew how to work with the muscles of the body and release the tension.
I head to the massage table at least once a month. I switched recently to every two weeks to deal with some issues in my hips and legs. Boy, I just melt onto the table while my therapist goes to work. Sometimes I fall asleep. It is that relaxing and detoxifying!
Choosing a massage therapist
There are all sorts of massage techniques. And you will find therapists with all different styles. If you are looking for a massage therapist, make a list of what you want to accomplish and what kind of therapist would be a good match for your personality. Think about whether you are seeking relaxation or want someone to tend to soft tissue issues in your body (they will work at a deep level). Do you want someone who talks you through the massage, or do you want a quiet retreat from your day? Be sure to share these things with a potential therapist so you can decide if it is a match.
Also give consideration to any physical issues you might have. If you have any significant injuries, previous surgeries or conditions like arthritis, you might be best served looking for a therapist who specializes in treating your ailment or condition.
Where to go for massage?
My massage spot is the Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Salon in Wheaton. This spa is great concept as there are several massage therapists on staff. Their front desk staff will consult with you to find the best match for you and your needs. But there are plenty of great massage therapists out there. I even suggest asking for recommendations from friends.
Stretching is a must to keep the joints limber and the muscles healthy!
I find stretching intriguing! It’s like a puzzle, trying to figure out how to reach and release those tight spots in the body. A full body stretch is good to do 2 to 3 times a week. Then use a few stretches throughout your day to release the tension from prolonged sitting, long bouts of computer work, and/or sitting in your car. Stretching is great in the morning too.
As we get older, stretching is wonderful preventative maintenance for our bodies.
Years ago I asked my chiropractic if he would stretch my body. He kind of chuckled at first because I kept telling him all about these modalities I was exploring. But he agreed. And that started my love of facilitated stretching. (Facilitated stretching means that you get to have a certified professional stretch your body for you!)
Facilitated stretching has grown over the past year. Many methods are now available. The creators of these methods have done a great deal of studying and research on how best to relieve muscle tension and to promote joint mobility. The benefit of facilitated stretching is that you have a specialist doing the work.
Active Isolated Stretching
Here at Strand Fitness we offer AIS, Active Isolated Stretching. Learn more about AIS by reading New Mobility & Movement Solutions. I recently had one of these sessions, it was wonderful. AIS is really helping my chronic hip stiffness.
If you don’t have access to a stretching practitioner, you can use straps, yoga blocks and even a ballet barre to help you stretch. Many of my clients have fallen in love with stretches at the barre! One client wants to install one in her home. If that interests you, check out Vita Vibe, the online site where I purchased our ballet barre. You can also search the internet for DIY barre installations.
We can help you get rid of the stiffness that makes you feel so old!
Call Pam (630-653-8152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation fitness consultation.
We’ll get you moving with more ease and with fewer aches and pains!
To learn more about our Mobility Programs, please visit: Mobility & Movement Solutions
Strand Fitness is a personal training studio in Downtown Wheaton, serving Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Winfield, & Chicago Western Suburbs. To learn more about how Strand Fitness can help you reach your fitness goals, contact Pam (630-653-8152) and schedule your free fitness consultation.
You can also learn more about our fitness solutions here: Fitness Solutions