Most comments I receive regarding my fitness level pertain only to the actual exercise portion of my life. “Oh, well you exercise all the time” and “…It’s because you exercise so much.” The fact is, I’ve been able to keep and maintain a high fitness level not solely because of what I’m doing inside the gym, but also outside of it.
Don’t get me wrong, the exercise portion of our lives is still obviously very important. But there are many things I do behind the scenes that I personally believe are just as important than the exercise part. How can you make improvements to your health other than physically exercising? Below are some of my “secrets” that I rotate through on a weekly basis which play a major role in my ability to stay fit, as well as recover not only from exercise but from life.
Warm Epsom salt bath
plus cold shower
Magnesium sulfate, a pure time-tested mineral compound otherwise known as Epsom salt, helps relax muscles and also helps stabilize mood and relive stress, anxiety and depression. The actual supplement magnesium is often in most conversations when it comes to muscle recovery, joint pain relief and sleep aids.
At least once a week (hopefully more) I make it a point to soak in an Epsom salt bath. I look forward to this very much, and often immediately jump into a cold shower after the bath for the hot/cold one-two punch. A cold shower, although something to get accustomed to, has myriad benefits that include improvement in circulation, lymphatic system drainage and even can potentially increase testosterone. I will hit this combo right before bed and sleep like a baby.
The NormaTec Recovery System helps maximize recovery using sequential pulse technology. It is available for the legs, hips and arms and I often rotate through these three depending on if I feel something needs particular attention. I will also use this compression therapy specifically post-workout if an area was worked particularly hard. For example: After a tough workout with my legs, I’ll use the leg compression that day. If the workout was taxing on the upper body and arms, then I’d use the arm compression.
NormaTec synergistically combines three distinct techniques to speed the body’s normal recovery process — pulsing compression, gradients and distal release. Through these mechanics, blood and circulation is maximized and moved through areas of high pressure to low pressure.
Here’s one you probably didn’t expect to see. I have a small trampoline in my house that I either use before/during/after a home workout, or to take a break if I find myself sitting for too long. I’ll jump as little as 100 times, which takes about one minute.
Our bodies’ ability to be resilient and elastic is important, especially as we age. Our connective tissue needs to maintain this spring-like quality, and this allows our bodies to be powerful and strong. Think about this: When we are young, we were able to jump around, run, sprint, etc., but as we get older what happens to that power? Dragging the feet while walking is a common issue for the aging population and often leads to untimely and unfortunate falls. We want to take big, confident steps as we walk and literally be pushing off the ground as we step.
As we learned in middle school science class, when we push into the ground, the ground has an equal and opposite force reaction back into us. But when we cannot load our bodies into the ground, we do not get much of a reaction back. Losing power or maintaining power is often the difference between someone who ages well and those who suffer with a poorer quality of life.
Take care of yourself
Believe it or not, there are quite a few other things I do on a weekly basis to stay on top of my health and wellness. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention another obvious way to take care of ourselves that is nonworkout related — nutrition.
I always value and appreciate all reader feedback every month, so if you’d like to hear more, I’ll be happy to write a version two of my behind-the-scenes secrets sometime in 2020.
What I’d like you to think about is if you currently do anything outside of exercise that helps circulate your blood, relax your body or balances your body both physically and mentally.
And besides, does soaking in a nice warm bath, with some bubbles and a touch of coconut oil sound so bad?
Reach Giovanni on Twitter @GiovanniRoselli and at his website, GiovanniRoselli.com.