Tips for active relaxation in the cold season
Many athletes don’t realise that rest and relaxation are just as important to muscle growth as lifting heavy weights. In this blog post, we explore the 5 best exercises for active relaxation that gives your body time to heal and keeps you moving at the same time.
According to nutritionist Dr. Gretchen Kubacky, active relaxation means ‘choosing activities that contribute to a deep sense of well-being, centeredness, calm, and good health.’ Most athletes believe they achieve their goals through intense exercise, however, rest and relaxation are equally important to muscle growth and promote regeneration and balance. We know our Urban Sports Club community loves to keep moving, so we’ve collated the 5 best activities that contribute to relaxation while keeping you active at the same time. As summer draws to an end, active relaxation will prepare you for cooler days and longer nights and give you a welcome break from your screen.
The following activities are designed to enhance your inner balance and personal wellbeing, reduce stress levels, and re-centre your body so you can hit the fitness studio with optimal energy. They also stimulate blood circulation, activate the immune system, and decrease cellular inflammation. Who’d have thought doing so little could do so much?! Enjoy!
Yoga, the trend sport of the 21st century, is the gift that just keeps on giving. Not only does it improve flexibility, build muscle and tone your body, yoga has a positive impact on your mental state, too. We recommend incorporating yoga into your fitness routine at least once a week. You can choose from dozens of different styles – Ashtanga and Power for more intensity, or Hatha and Yin yoga for more serenity. Hatha and Yin promote active relaxation as you hold the postures for longer periods of time and reach deep muscle tissues. This releases stress and tension so afterwards you’ll feel mentally refreshed as well as physically rejuvenated. Urban Sports Club has dozens of partner studios across Europe, such as Three Boons Yoga in Berlin. Head over to our website or app to find yoga classes in your area.
Qi Gong and Tai Chi
Active relaxation sports such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi aren’t just good for your soul, they also help elongate your life, according to this study by Reuters. Dr. Xianglan Zhang, one of the study’s authors says Tai Chi ‘combines slow motion exercise and mind concentration to focus on movement. That itself can reduce your stress and, of course, it will increase your flexibility and endurance.’
Tai Chi is one of the most effective exercises for mind-health. By controlling movement and breathing, you generate internal energy and boost mindfulness. Similarly, Qi Gong is a system of coordinated body postures that combine movement, meditation, and breathing to enhance focus, balance, and inner awareness. Qi Gong and Tai Chi contribute to a peaceful mind, a strong immune system, and better circulation, not to mention the calming influence of the serene studios you can visit. Check out body + soul Munich Mitte or Berlin’s Fitness center ATB and glow from the inside this fall.
Did you know that sitting still for 10 minutes a day gives you superpowers? Meditation makes you more self-aware, reduces stress, helps manage anxiety, and improves external relationships. Meditation also improves attention span and focus and reduces age-related memory loss. You can pick up the habit of meditation through one of our meditation partners. Picking up meditation now is a great idea if you dislike the colder months. It reduces negative emotions and promotes emotional health, so you’ll find yourself enjoying the cooler days a lot more than last year!
Mobility is the ultimate active relaxation class… although it might not feel too relaxing at the time. Mobility classes with partners such as Black Sheep Athletics or Chimosa in Berlin will stretch and flex your deep muscles which can feel intense but leads to increased performance. Mobility helps regenerate sore muscles and allows for a greater range of movement, so attending these classes regularly can give you the push you need to hold your first handstand. As the weather gets cooler, taking time out to work on your mobility is even more important. In cold weather muscles contract to reserve heat which makes them tighter and more prone to injury, so try one of our mobility partners today and stay limber this fall!
Breathwork, or Pranayama for yogis, is the practice of conscious breathing to connect your body and mind. It’s fantastic for active relaxation as it calms acute stress response and reduces symptoms of anxiety. Breathwork elicits the body’s relaxation response while reducing blood pressure through deep abdominal breathing. If you’re prone to stress and anxiety, Breathwork classes and Breathwork exercises are a natural and enjoyable way to take control and bring those cortisol levels down. Breathwork is a healing practice used around the world and has become increasingly popular in Europe in recent years. Incorporate this form of conscious breathing into your daily routine and enjoy feeling more productive, calmer, and more balanced.
If you’d like to try some of Urban Sports Club’s many active relaxation classes, sign up for membership today!