Let's say you did a PATHFINDER Challenge over the weekend... (Yes! One big step closer to that Finisher's Patch!) It can be really tempting to tell you body to just 'shut-up' and workout again the next day.
While sometimes doing lots of workouts over a short period of time can be beneficial (when you're training up to a huge Event, for instance), more often, it's just more work for your body to process. Taking a recovery day at least once a week gives your body the opportunity to drop a high cortisol response (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18787373/). Cortisol is a necessary hormone created by the body and in typical day-to-day function is responsible for dynamic energy levels.
However, significant and consistent hard exercise (especially when during exercise rest periods are short and volume is high) can increase the stress response in your body, making cortisol the bad guy over time. Add work or life stress to this situation, and trouble can start. Day-to-day high cortisol can translate to difficulty losing weight, higher blood pressure and suppressed immunity function.
This work-out aims to help you enjoy some downtime while maintaining active recovery and lowering your overall cortisol response. We begin with static stretching, holding the position for :30 seconds, before moving on to more active movement. None of the movements should be performed quickly or with jerky movements. Do not force your body into any stretch, but allow it to go as far as you can comfortably.
At the end of this workout, I'll post some great post-workout yoga links you can try from free YouTube channels and some daily practices you can incorporate into your training to keep your stress lower.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
This is a body-weight only workout
- Yoga mat.
- WODTimer app, but set the volume lower for the alarm.
WHAT EXERCISES DO I NEED TO KNOW?
CHILDS POSE This is a gentle stretch for your hips, low back, thighs and ankles. Begin by kneeling on your mat, knees as wide as your mat and big toes together. Drop your hips back to your heels and stretch your arms forward to the top of your mat as your forehead rests on the ground.
DOWN DOG From Child's pose, rise from your core. Bring your feet to hip width on your mat, heels rooting towards the ground as your hands press into the mat, your hips pointing skyward. Your fingers should be spread wide, finger knuckles gently clawed into your mat. Your shoulders should be in and pressing down, your spine long from head to tailbone. Your legs may be straight or knees slightly bent. In this position, feel free to "walk your dog" by pedaling your knees and feet, sway your hips gently or any other gentle movement that feels right. If Down Dog is difficult for you, this is a great article on modifications from yogajournal.com that we recommend.
RUNNERS LUNGE From down dog, raise one leg up and bring it into a lunge on the outside of your same-side hand. This is an excellent video to watch with modifications. After completing one side, do your other side.
HALF SPLITS Begin in runner's lunge. Sit back into your right heel and straighten your left leg. Flex your left foot, toes pointing up and feet active. Keep your hips square and stacked over your right knee. Inhale, lengthen your spine, and exhale, folding forward gently. Complete on the opposite leg next.
STANDING SUPINE TWIST Stand with your back to a wall, feet about 3-4" away from the wall. Bring your left leg up, knee bent, across your body, holding your knee with your right hand. Bring your left arm out, back of your hand gently touching the wall for support. Turn your head to the left side. (Complete again on the right.)
INCHWORMS Begin by standing. Fold forward at the hips, until your hands touch the mat. Walk your hands out into a high plank, and then walk your hands back in. Stand up.
STATIC STRETCHING - 4 MINUTES TOTAL
- :30 x Child's Pose
- :30 x Down Dog
- :30 x Runners Lunge - Left
- :30 x Runners Lunge - Right
- :30 x Half Splints - Left
- :30 x Half Splits - Right
- :30 x Standing Supine Twist - Left
- :30 x Standing Supine Twist - Right
ACTIVE EXERCISES x 2-3 ROUNDS
- 12 x Inchworms
- 12 x Bodyweight Push- Ups
- 12 x Bodyweight Walking Lunges (soft count: 1,2,3... for 6 total per side)
- 12 x Bodyweight Squats
- 10 x No-Push Up Burpees
These are great yoga practices to do after any workout, this one included. Save them to your library for fast access when you need one for an active recovery day. We have done all of these ourselves and highly recommend them.
Easy Morning Yoga Flow for Beginners (15 min) | Arianna Elizabeth Yoga
Easy Yoga Class for Athletes to Boost Recovery | Breathe and Flo Yoga (16 minutes)
Yoga for Athletes - 30 Minute Vinyasa Flow | Joa Yoga
Lowering Your Overall Stress Response
Read 11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Response from healthline.com. This article is fantastic -- and cited. It's worth your time to pop over and check it out.