Fall invites us to cook, get cozy and maybe even partake in some pumpkin spice indulgences. But even more importantly, fall beckons us to spice-up our wellness routine. This season, try adding these SPICES into the mix.
S — Symmetry
Many summer sports require dominance of certain muscle groups or excessive use of one side of the body. This creates imbalances that can result in pain or postural deviations. A few examples include biking, kayaking, golf and tennis. Fall is a great time to work to correct those imbalances. Practices that work on alignment, balance, symmetry and mind-body connection offer a nice reprieve. Great examples of these practices are: yoga, Pilates, Tai chi, and Martial Arts.
P — Power
As we head into winter, our bodies need to remain powerful for the demands of winter sports and chores. Downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, shoveling snow, snow shoeing and even snowmobiling all call for power coming from the legs, hips and abdominals.
This is a great time of year for squats, dead lift patterns, wall sits and single leg squats to prepare your body for activities on slick surfaces. Remember, with each of these exercises, quality is more important than quantity. If you experience pain, get evaluated by your physical therapist to address your technique and form.
I — Inspiration
If the change of seasons is bumming you out and you just can’t bear to face winter, fall is a great time to get inspired. Inspiration can come from spending time in nature, watching elite athletes perform at the top of their sport, or learning about an inspiring trek or journey. Take some time to cultivate and renew your inspiration. Introspection and goal setting are necessary if you want to remain engaged in your fitness and wellness journey for the long haul.
C — Core
Along with power, we also need a strong, stable core in fall and winter. Raking leaves and shoveling snow can result in lower back pain if we don’t have a trained core. Another benefit is that it warms you from the inside out. The perfect antidote to a chilly fall day.
To work the core, do exercises like planks, side planks, bicycles and dead bugs. During any core workout, you need to be able to maintain the breath, create a slight lift of your pelvic floor, and keep your navel hugged toward your spine. Using correct technique is crucial to avoid injuries. Musculoskeletal injuries, prolapses and herniations are unfortunately a common result of improper technique. Work with a physical therapist or Pilates instructor for the most comprehensive and safe instruction if you aren’t knowledgeable about working your core.
E — Emotional Health
Right now, we are in the eighth month of a pandemic, with no end in sight. The virus has exposed serious inequities and vulnerabilities. Stress, exhaustion, overwhelm, uncertainty and despair are all rampant right now. Additionally, the shorter, darker days can trigger seasonal-affective-disorder (SAD). And to top it off, the holidays can bring about their own set of stressors. In a nutshell, for many reasons, this beautiful season can reveal some ugly feelings.
What to do? Try things like meditation, journaling or connecting with people who are present for your feelings without judging or trying to fix you. Make an appointment with a mental health professional or healing body worker, or simply take some time out of the day for yourself.
S — Sleep
Shorter days and longer nights are Mother Nature’s way of telling us to get a little more sleep. Find a soothing bedtime routine and prioritize a solid night of sleep. The number of hours that you need varies from person to person. If you wake up refreshed and don’t feel tired during the day, you’re getting enough. If not, you probably need more sleep. Meet with your doctor about sleep if you have insomnia or sleep apnea. Otherwise the best advice is to stop viewing screens and stimulating content an hour before bedtime, avoid alcohol and strenuous exercise close to bedtime and avoid caffeine consumption in the afternoon.
We hope you take some time to add these SPICES to your fall wellness routine!Disclaimer