Stress reduction and its associated topics such as mindfulness and relaxation were of top interest this month. Maybe we are collectively acknowledging how difficult the last 14 months have been and are ready to prioritize our mental health and self care. Also popular was working with beginning clients (signs of the fitness industry reviving?) and the power of plank—everyone’s favorite exercise! With that said, read April 2021’s favorite blogs below:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a form active relaxation, perfect for athletes who want to go deeper with mindfulness and/or purposeful movement. It’s also great for athletes who struggle (like I did at first) with recovery or simply put- sitting still.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a deep relaxation technique based upon the simple practice of tensing, or tightening, one muscle group at a time followed by a relaxation phase that involves the release of the physical tensing and tightening, hereby relaxing the muscle. It was founded in the 1930’s by Edmund Jacobson and is based upon his premise that mental calmness is a natural result of physical relaxation.
Power of the Plank
I have been a strong proponent of the plank for many years. It’s no-impact, builds core strength, and takes very little time to make a big impression. Almost anyone can do it, especially with modifications available due to mobility limitations. There is a sense of power with performing the plank!
All you need is your body and the floor. Since no equipment is needed, except for some variations, you can do it anywhere. No excuses.
Trainers can incorporate planks in training sessions or recommend clients to do them on their own (once they know the proper form).
Hints for Beginner Clients
Beginning clients usually don’t know what to expect with training sessions. They invest their time, their money, and their energy. Why not get the most out of it? Read these 10 helpful hints to offer your clients as a reference for them to maximize their workouts.
Exercising to Sleep
There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep. There’s also nothing quite like a bad night’s sleep. Many insomniacs resort to medications to get the sleep they want and need. Others go night after night fighting sleep tossing and turning. It can be miserable, but there might be a positive alternative: Exercise. Is it possible that exercising can lead to better sleep? Research indicates there is a correlation between exercise and sleep. Those who exercise tend to fall asleep easier and to rest more deeply. Of course, there are exceptions.
Before you hit the pillow, read on.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness is many things to many people. Mayo Clinic defines it as “a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment” (2020). Mindful.org describes this state of being as the mind fully aware of what is happening at the present moment.
Helping our fitness clients reduce stress through exercise might be a given, but personal trainers can consider the application of “mindfulness” as a means of stress-reduction as well. And truly, mindfulness and exercise should go hand-in-hand.