The Art of Self-Care

In Thrive, Arianna Huffington makes an impassioned and compelling case for the need to redefine success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.  Her secret?  Meditation, Mindfulness, Unplugging, and Giving.

Self-care is like that.  Thriving in climbing is staying injury-free, but self-care is often an afterthought.  Admittedly, our own cultivation of a self-care practice has emerged out of treating rather than preventing injuries over the past few years, and we’ve been working to remedy this.

We’ve observed a strong correlation between self-care and injury prevention, and are super stoked to share some of our self-care best practices below and celebrate many more injury-free years to accompany our climbing!

aerial

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine involving thin needles inserted into the body at acupuncture points.  Commonly used for pain relief, it can be associated with the application of heat, pressure, or laser light to these same points.

We first discovered acupuncture after suffering from nerve impingement issues  due to two herniated discs from being hit by a car while cycling last summer.  When used in conjunction with physical therapy, we found regular acupuncture visits (1-2x a week) to be extremely effective in relieving shoulder, neck, and back pain, as well as stress.  Life is a lot more zen thanks to our love affair with acupuncture!

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy or physiotherapy is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that remediates impairments and promotes mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and physical intervention (therapy using mechanical force and movements).

For as long as we have been climbing, we have been undergoing PT for various ailments, from strengthening shoulder joints and ankles ligaments to improving finger mobility and overall range of motion.

PT is typically associated with injury recovery, but we recommend integrating your physical therapy exercises into your regular workout routine to strengthen and prevent further injury.

Resting

Enough said.  But seriously, we’ve learned to relish our rest days, which are usually spent cross-training in the gym or stretching out at a local yoga studio.  And we promise we won’t judge you if your rest days are sometimes accompanied by a pint of Vanilla Bean ice cream and playing catch-up on MTV teen dramas (like ours occasionally are).

Photo by Sasha Cox

Photo by Sasha Cox

Stretching

Climbing and other intense physical activities tend to shorten our muscles, so it’s important to stretch them out before and after your climbing sesh to prevent injury and warm-up those bad boys.

Deep and juicy stretching of all major muscles and connective tissues through a series of slow movements and breath awareness will not only release tightness in your hips, shoulders, hamstrings, and quads, but also give you an amazing dancer’s body over time!

Yin Yoga

The perfect compliment to one’s dynamic (yang) practices and busy climbing life is the deep, meditative and relaxing practice of yin yoga:

Focusing on long-held passive floor poses combined with breath work and meditation, yin yoga is a deep practice that targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that are not exercised in a more active style of asana practice, and helps students not only to open the body, but also to cultivate a meditative component of practice

Sacred Sounds Yoga

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