Greetings from a mini-vacation in Florida. Although it has rained most of the time the company is delightful. We have seen Captain Marvel (which I loved) and took a rainy walk through the magnificent Japanese gardens at the Morikami Museum. My own need for a quiet vacation made me think about what we do for recovery when we engage in a movement practice that uses the good stress of exercise to drive to adaptations. This describes many movement practices. Whether we are looking for bigger and stronger muscles or a wider window of tolerance for nervous system activation, we use stress to slowly change in order to meet our goals.
Have you ever tried to take on a new movement practice, enjoyed doing it, but afterwards felt like you had been hit by a trash truck? Any movement practice? Dancing, swimming, walking, biking, gardening? Then you think, “Nah, that wasn’t for me,” or “that was too much for me.”
Or have you been doing something you enjoy for a little bit but you don’t feel you can continue because it takes so much out of you?
It may not be as simple as “the practice was too rigorous, tough, or draining.” Maybe you did overtax your system, but did you change anything you were doing in your life to add recovery potential into the mix. If we engage in an activity that takes energy during our day, especially a new one, we need to do something to replenish our energy stores. Some ways we can do this are:
eat more calories
sleep more (a nap or earlier bedtime)
stimulate your parasympathetic system (rest and digest mode of your nervous system) through breathing drills and grounding practices
Next time you take on a new movement practice, or are dramatically increasing the intensity of a current practice, try adding one or more of these practices to your day as well. Movement helps us live our fullest lives and it can be fun too. But for so many of us, getting started or progressing is hard because it hurts or leaves us feeling depleted. To that I say, rest a little more. Give your body the time and energy it needs to adapt, both during and after the practice, and it will.