The COVID lockdown has drained all. That's a given. Everything from sleep patterns to daily regimes is off and it's clearly taking a toll on all. We sleep more, do a little less despite best of efforts, and worry about how we'll get back to normal.
There's an old saying: "By the inch, it's a cinch and by the yard it's hard . . ". Many of my clients and friends, stuck at home, have lost oomph momentum the desire to workout. We're stiff and move funny and hardly bounce out of bed so know you're not alone.
In Coaching, there is a principle known as "regressions" or backing up the demands of a workout or movement until it's something easily mastered by your athlete. Well after three months of lockdown, it may be time for many of us to simply get moving, practice flexibility work (that is not arduous or alienating), and do a few things dietarily/ lifestyle to set a positive tone to the day.
Personally I have gone from sleeping from 9 pm to 3:30 am to 10 pm to 7 am (oh no):
I'm sure many of you are saying, "Me too !!", but before we self-deprecating, it's been clear the toll. This bombardment of bad news, predictions of gloom, and fear for health to wealth have depressed us every neurotransmitter of energy.
Our ideal "morning hormone" is dopamine: Dopamine controls many functions, including behavior, emotion, and cognition. This chemical also communicates with the front part of your brain, which is associated with pleasure and reward. On the positive side, it helps motivate you to work toward achieving a reward so a pretty good thing to have to get us out of bed on time.
I use a meat/nut breakfast to enhance my get up and go: The meat and nuts breakfast raises both dopamine and acetyl-choline, the two most important neurotransmitters for focus and drive. The meat allows for a slow and steady rise in blood sugar. The nuts provide a great source of healthy smart fats that allows the blood sugar to remain stable for an extended period of time.
But before I do that, I take nutrients on an empty stomach (as I rise) to get in there ahead of the meal: As soon as I get up, I take a scoop and a half of ATP NEURO BRAIN FACTOR ( https://atplab.com/products/neuro-brain-factor). Every YIN nutrient is imaginable to lift your energy levels, mood, and outlook. It helps to support cognitive health and brain function and it helps in energy metabolism. We're off to a good start.
Now if we've hit the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired: The idea of a home workout is lost. BUT when we rid the body of its' inherent stiffness, the idea of moving isn't so bad.
AND the more mobile we are, the less movement is an issue. The more flexible we are, the less movement hurts. I get it there are mornings where I just want to stay put on the couch ... and order "Uber Eats" with the instructions "...leave it at the door". I know you're smiling we're all human and in this together.
So the first thing I did was put together a playlist of songs to passively stretch to. Ideally, if you have a great playlist, you want to hear it to the end so you'll keep stretching. My friend Jim first put me to this playing Classical music while we trained at home. The time flew by. You know what makes you tick, but to share, here are a few of my tracks while I stretch (no judging)- and stop judging me nothing a little therapy couldn't help :
Ok- so I am all over the map but get the idea? If you like your songs, you'll do MORE and you'll do it LONGER ...
So what stretches should we be doing? Oh, we're all slouching tons- in front of the TV, the computer, or reading on the couch with horrid postures. Shout out to all the chiro's, RMT's as we start reopening- they turbocharge the undoing of all this bad stuff.
BUT let's open up the front of the body given our dominant slouches (AND what I have done is take the easiest- don't get out of your chair, stretches)
Just hold each stretch for 20-30 s. while relaxing your breathing- try to do each for 3-4 times (while you watch TV if you didn't make a playlist):
Open the chest: https://exrx.net/Stretches/ChestGeneral/BehindHead
Front of the shoulder: https://exrx.net/Stretches/DeltoidAnterior/Seated
Front of the arms: https://exrx.net/Stretches/Biceps/Wall
Upper Back (this one feels so good): https://exrx.net/Stretches/BackGeneral/FixedBar
Upper Back lats (another good one): https://exrx.net/Stretches/LatissimusDorsi/Wall
Frontal core: https://exrx.net/Stretches/RectusAbdominis/Standing
Low back: https://exrx.net/Stretches/ErectorSpinae/SeatedBentover
Get it? You barely leave your chair while watching TV or listening to tunes you like done consistently you'll be amazed at the outcome by 2 weeks- energy to mobility without much effort
Finally, go Japanese Forest bathing: Sinrin-yuko: Sounds crazy (I know) but study after study has shown a chronic lowering of cortisol (our stress hormone) when regular walks in forested areas are done.
In a nutshell, the tree huggers we're right.
Here's a brief video explaining the effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stuZaKB9j7I
Go for a long walk nightly- anywhere there are trees, The lower our resting cortisol, the happier we tend to be open to movement and well-doing stuff we should be doing.
There you go- on the road to recovery ...
Who loves ya?