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Balance High Intensity Training with Low Intensity Training

As the mind-body exercise category grows and includes popular fitness modalities that incorporate mindfulness, the type of exerciser mindful movement appeals to also endures to expand. Avid exercisers and professional athletes are no strangers to intense training and can benefit from programs like CORE™ Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training™ to boost performance both on and off the field. Mindful variations of high-intensity training (HIT) stand as one of the most effective cardio methods available, though overdoing this type of exercise can place excess stress and strain on the muscles and on the heart.

To balance out HIT and other forms of intense movement, exercisers should consider adding mindful, lower-intensity workouts to their regimens. Performing lighter modes of exercise like STOTT PILATES® or ZEN•GA™ two to three days per week can assist in preventing injury and muscle tenderness. This type of restorative fitness allows for recovery, letting muscles that had been broken down and torn through HIT to repair and rebuild.

Some helpful mat-based moves from the STOTT PILATES repertoire include:

  • Spine Twist: Begin seated on your mat with crossed legs and arms bent with forearms crossed at shoulder height, pelvis and spine neutral. Inhale to prepare, then exhale, rotating the spine to one side for three counts, releasing slightly on each count. Inhale and return to center. Complete 3-5 repetitions on each side, alternating.
  • Side Bend: Begin seated on one hip, facing side with pelvis and spine neutral. With both knees flexed together at the bottom and hand on the mat, inhale to prepare then exhale and lift the bottom him off the mat, side bending torso and reaching top arm overhead. Inhale to lower hip and return to the starting position. Complete 3 – 5 repetitions each side, alternating.

Another tip for athletes to up their performance ante is to incorporate foam rolling, a vital exercise in avoiding injury by helping muscle and fascia to stay healthy and to alleviate any muscle tightness and discomfort.

Not only will low-intensity, mindful workouts and foam rolling reap physical benefits, but mentally as well through reduced stress, enhanced concentration and better rest.

Here are some basic foam roller exercises that can be done at home:

  • IT Band: Lie on your side with the outer thigh on the foam roller using your hand to prop up your trunk. Roll between the knee and hip, applying pressure as necessary. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Calves: Sit on the floor with straight legs crossing one over the other and the roller placed under the calf of the lower leg. Lift your rear off the ground with the hands placed down to support your body. Roll up and down the calf muscles, applying pressure as necessary. Repeat on the opposite side.