How to find your superpower in recovery | HerCanberra

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How to find your superpower in recovery

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How’s your energy and mojo? Does your exercise program have scheduled recovery weeks?

Whether it be physical disabilities, mental or emotional health, autoimmune conditions, load management, long COVID, general undiagnosed fatigue and overwhelm, the list goes on—we want to give everyone options to optimise their health.

Did you know 12% of the Australian population report suffering from a common mental disorder (e.g. depression and anxiety)? The prevalence of chronic pain is estimated to increase to 5.23 million people by 2050. Just over half of people living with chronic pain are women.

If you do have depression, anxiety, chronic pain, or general undiagnosed fatigue symptoms, regular programmed movement is vital for your return to health, developing confidence, and empowering you to re-engage and get back to the activities you want to do. However, your program needs to be managed by a professional, and ensure they schedule recovery weeks into your program. Maybe exercising in water is your answer?

You may just find your superpower (AKA—energy, and mojo) in your recovery week.

Athletes do it—and so can YOU. Rest and recovery is an essential component of any exercise program, as it gives the body time to:

  • Repair.
  • Rebuild.
  • Strengthen itself between workouts.

Active recovery is often considered more beneficial than inactivity, resting completely, or sitting.

A female exercise program shouldn’t be generic. We need to nurture our hormonal cycle to get the most out of our body. Our hormonal balance is constantly changing due to our menstrual-cycle-induced oscillations in estrogen and progesterone. Your recovery week, should match your hormonal cycle. More research is needed to find out exactly how hormones affect women’s physical training (and I won’t dive into that can of worms today!).

The active recovery week is designed to reduce overall training stress through low-moderate intensity movement (swimming, cycling, Hydrolates (Aquatic Pilates), Deep Water Running, hiking on soft trails, easy flat trail jogs), and reducing your exercise programs repetitions and sets.

I like to schedule it into my planner, every three to five weeks.

You want to reduce the overload and ensure to finish the week feeling better than at the end of your last week.  Measuring sleep, heart rate, happiness and energy levels.

When it comes to recovery, I’m a big believer in immersing in water. Water has the power to soothe, heal and rejuvenate. The mere sight and sound of water can induce a flood of neurochemicals in the brain. These particular neurochemicals promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart and induce relaxation. And that’s just being around water—we haven’t even mentioned exercise…

Studies have shown that gazing at bodies of water can help lower your heart rate, decrease blood pressure and increase feelings of relaxation.

Why water

Do you know WHY it feels so good? Depending on the immersion depth, the hydrostatic pressure promotes blood flow by varying the pressure exerted on the body; this results in increased blood flow to major organs and the promotion of diuretic action. Here’s some other reasons:

  • Natural buoyancy of water comfortably supports your weight and reduces stress on joints. Exercises and treatments are easier, more comfortable, and safer performed in water.
  • Benefit from water resistance, which provides efficient muscle strengthening. While providing support at the same time. Magic.
  • Hydrostatic pressure. Water supports tissues naturally, helping relieve swelling in damaged areas and improve joint position awareness.
  • Warm water is not just comfortable and soothing, it also relaxes muscle tissues and vasodilates blood vessels, which allows for increased blood flow and more efficient healing of injuries.

The brain

A deep biological connection has been shown to trigger an immediate response in our brains when we’re near water. One study found that simply walking where water is visible for 20 minutes a day immediately increased mood (compared to walking in a more urban setting). In fact, the mere sight and sound of water can induce a flood of neurochemicals. These particular neurochemicals promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart and induce relaxation. And that’s just being around water—the movement side is where the magic happens!

Where’s your favourite pool? Here’s some local winter pools that we refer to for our Capital Hydrotherapy community to self-manage:

1) Stromlo Leisure Centre (Open 5.30 am – 9.30 pm), Stromlo.

2) Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Centre (Open 5.30 am – 9 pm), Bruce.

3) Club Lime Aquatics, ANU (Open 6 am – 9.30 am), Acton.

4) Active Leisure Centre (Open 5.30 am – 8.45 pm), Erindale.

5) Lakeside Leisure Centre (Open 5.30am – 9.30pm), Tuggeranong.

6) Stellar Canberra (Accessible for members), Woden.

7) Queanbeyan Aquatic Centre, (Open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm) Queanbeyan.

How to start? At HerCanberra, we like to keep it simple:

  • Pack your swimmers and desired equipment (think: noodles, fabric resistance bands, resistance gloves, paddles, and leg straps).
  • Find a local pool. Check out the quiet periods.
  • Start moving. Ask your treating practitioner to laminate your program.
  • Create a goal that suits your function (stay motivated).

Remember, you don’t have to start with a long water session straight away. Progress, not perfection. Just start.

Low on energy? When’s the last time you scheduled an active recovery week?

Love, Kirra.

Capital Hydrotherapy and Exercise Physiology is open for one-on-one Hydrotherapy, Aquatic Physiotherapy (and land-based Physio), land-based Exercise Physiology, small group therapy, Hydrolates™ classes (Aquatic Pilates) with strict COVID-safe precautions.

If you are injured, have a chronic health condition, or need a plan to improve your health and wellbeing—call us today 6156 2223!

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