Greetings Blog Readers! I wanted to take a moment out of my day to talk about the very important issue of recovery. Recovery is often over-looked when it comes to fitness, and is one of the many reasons why people grow tired of working out and lead to burn out.
All the actions that take place on the road, treadmill or gym take a physical toll on the human body. Our muscles break down, DOMS kick in, and our body's are riddled with trigger points that hurt to the physical touch. Alwyn Cosgrove once said that is exercise produced a painful muscle, a muscle that is sore to the touch, then there is some level of dysfunction present.
What all to commonly happens as a result of exercise is painful trigger points that hurt to the touch. A way of treating or reducing both the occurrence and severity of these painful trigger points is through a form of myofascial release. Myofascial release is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat somatic dysfunction and accompanying pain and restriction of motion. This is accomplished by relaxing contracted muscles, increasing circulation, increasing venous and lymphatic drainage, and stimulating the stretch reflex of muscles and overlying fascia.
The single best tool a person could get is a foam roller. I picked my foam roller up at Perform Better. Eric Cressey has a video hosted on YouTube that shows many of the common trigger points and foam rolling exercises. I end up doing my foam rolling both after my workout and again before I go to bed. Personally for me, I enjoy doing it before bed because afterwards, I'm completely relaxed and it seems for me to help me sleep better.
The second tool I have pictured is the baseball. I use this for a number of spots that the foam roller cannot target. Namely, I use it for the calves, soles of the feet, and scapula. For my back, I end up leaning my back against the wall and putting the ball between my shoulder blades and working it around the scapula. If you have any trigger points in your back this will certainly get them. To increase pressure simply walk your feet further from the wall and lean into the wall by driving against the ground with your feet.
For symptoms of plantar fasciitis from running long distances or increased amounts of cardio, I often use a tennis ball or baseball to massage the bottom soles of my feet. I would recommend starting with a tennis ball and then moving to the baseball. The tennis ball has a bit more give and is a bit less painful to begin with. Essentially I shift my weight over to the foot with the ball underneath it and give "20-30 passes" back and forth over the sole of the foot. In the picture provided work on massaging only the white area. Again, I do this either after my cardio session and before bed.
Next item in my picture you see is a small mini-band. I use this predominantly to increase mobility in my ankles. I'll loop the band around my ankles and perform 15-20 repetitions of ankle inversion/eversion movements to increase the musculature surrounding my ankles. If you've every rolled in an ankle, you understand how it can take you away from running. I do these exercises nightly in order to prevent any future ankle rolls by increasing the surrounding strength around my ankles. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
Lastly you see a heavy duty jump stretch band. I purchased this band including the mini-band and foam roller from www.performbetter.com I highly recommend this company. I use this band for damn near everything. I use it for stretching the hamstrings, quads, groin, hipflexors, etc. Here is a decent video of Vmac65 from McConnell Athletics (it was the first YouTube video that looked decent). Sidenote: I should probably be shooting my own videos so that I could endorse and promote myself rather than other people and their respective companies. I'll try to get on that and see what kind of video I can produce.
Lastly, as my Post Article title is named, I wanted to talk about some tunes. I'm logging about 7 hours of a cardio a week now in my Shred-Down Project for my wedding. Of those 7 hours, I don't listen to one song. What I do listen to is audiobooks. I have found the uncertainly that an audiobook brings, allows for me to get lost in the book rather than concentrating on the running. My heart rate monitor allows for me to stay within a certain heart rate range, so honestly, I can allow myself to concentrate on the book and the road in front of me.
I just finished listening to Sebastian Junger's book titled WAR available at Amazon.com and Holy Shit was it good. I don't want to say it was "good" because in essence our American Soldiers are going through this hell every single day, but it was written with a elegance and deeply narrative flare that made every read (or listen) suspenseful and captivating. I highly recommend this to anybody who needs a good listen for a commute, long road trip, or frequent cardio tunes.
Until next time people, Keep working hard and keep on going!