While the arrival of vaccines brings hope for a return to “normal” in the not-too-distant future, we’re not there yet and 2021 looks to be a continuation of much of the same as 2020. We could all use a reset after 11 long months of our routines of binge-watching Netflix shows, surfing the internet, and living on our couches. Experts from some of the top resorts in the country share their advice to help you keep you grounded mid-pandemic.
- Head outdoors. A cold-weather workout helps ease seasonal depression while offering great cardio benefits and higher calorie burn than exercising in warmer temperatures. Don’t let winter weather keep you from exercising outdoors, advises Wayne Cowan, activities director at Whiteface Lodge, a mountain resort in Lake Placid, New York. . Wayne suggests making your workout fun with a new experience, like snowshoeing or taking a hike somewhere you have never been. Did you know snowshoeing can burn about 500 calories an hour on average—twice as many calories as walking?
2. Stretch. Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. Additionally, it allows your body to warm up before your daily workout which is crucial before any vigorous exercise to avoid straining and muscle injury. Consider some of these simple stretches from Wayne:
o Standing quad stretch. Standing up straight, bend your right leg up behind you and grab hold of your foot with your left hand. Count to 30, then lower your leg and repeat with the other for three repetitions.
o Forward bend: From a standing position, bend forward at your hips, keeping your legs straight as you lower your hands until they reach your ankles. Hold for 30 seconds to stretch your calves, hamstrings, and hips. Repeat three times.
o Forward lunge: Elevate your left foot at least 12 inches, resting it on a stair, bench or even a large rock. Staying vertical and squaring your hips, extend your right leg behind you, squeezing your right glute, then reach your right arm overhead to deepen the stretch. Hold 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side for three repetitions.
3. Raise your (golf) game. Considered the most optimum socially distant sport, golf has seen a huge upswing in popularity post-COVID 19. To help golfers keep primed for their return to the course, Laird Small, director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy at Pebble Beach Resorts, offers this simple routine to take your golf game to the next level:
· Maintain rotational flexibility. The tension created in this exercise can help add much-needed rotation to your swing by opening up the chest. Give the following routine a try.
o Face a doorway.
o With your shoulders back, extend your right arm out (left arm if you’re left-handed) and place your hand flat against the door frame. It should be at shoulder height.
o Hold your hand in place and turn your upper body to the left (to the right if you’re left-handed). Your trail arm will stay behind you.
· Keep your head down. This exercise will train you to keep your body in position throughout your swing and keep your head down from backswing to follow-through.
o Fold a hand towel three to five times.
o Stand facing a wall and get into golf posture. You should be at least one foot from the wall.
o Lean forward and place your forehead against the wall, cushioned by the towel.
o Cross your arms over your chest, with the fingertips of each hand touching the opposite shoulder.
o Proceed to make turns back and forth, starting with your left shoulder down and your right shoulder up.
o Continue for 30 seconds to one minute while keeping the towel in place.
· Add width to your swing. A simple exercise like this will assist in arm extension and position you for the top of your backswing.
o Stand in the middle of a door frame.
o Take your golf posture.
o Reach for the top of the door jamb.
Massage your Partner at Home Like a Pro: LaRae Verros, spa director at Scottsdale’s Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, takes the intimidation out of an at-home massage with some“no-pressure” guidelines for novices:
·o Communication is key. The partner receiving the massage should be comfortable asking for what they want and need and give positive reinforcement, while the partner giving the massage should ask for feedback and listen with an open mind. Not everyone enjoys the same amount of intensity in their massage, so be sure to give and accept feedback as you work together to find the perfect level of pressure. The benefits of communicating better will last long after the massage ends.
o Keep the experience flexible and fun—think snack, foot rub, and a favorite TV show while you relax on your couch in your comfiest clothes.
o When it comes to massage technique, slower is better. Also, don’t overuse your thumbs. It’s not sustainable and your strength will burn out quickly.
Someday soon we can all get back to our old routines and get back to traveling to our favorite resorts. I know I am looking forward to that day! What are your tips for self-care and keeping sane while at home?