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You’re More Athletic Than you Think, And Need More Rest Than You Believe

Surprising opinion: you are likely considered athletic (and likely aren’t recovering as well as possible). Don’t believe me? Keep reading. Take a moment to tally up how much you move during the day. Do you walk or bike to work? Mow the lawn? Any kind of yoga, physical therapy, dog walking, or gym session a couple days a week? When added together is it at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise? If so, you’re considered an athlete. (At least according to Dr. Stacy Sims, a world expert on training the female body – and no this post isn’t just for women). And no, that doesn’t mean you have the physique of an Olympiad, a fridge full of protein or a 5k scheduled. Now, take a minute to reflect on your downtime. If you are any form of athlete, are you recovering like one?

While we can relish in a perfectly nested bed in a darkened bedroom to rest our body…the brain continues to take notice of the space around us. It notes the weight of our body in the mattress, the sound of cars passing in the streets below, and even the subtle temperature change in our pillows throughout the night. Our brain is never truly resting; meaning it is spending less time on directing the rest and recovery process throughout the body. Which begs the question, is our body truly recovering?

Sure, your six to eight hours of sleep feel “fine” but you still wake up unrested, needing that third cup of 2pm coffee, and seem to lose energy each year that passes by; because you’re accruing a movement debt that isn’t repaid with “regular rest”.

It’s no secret that soaking at home in an epsom salt bath promotes healing and relaxation. Which is why floating in a tank with over a thousand pounds of salt amplifies those effects. With an almost zero gravity experience, blood flows to every inch of the body delivering nutrients to help heal muscles and provide blissful deep relaxation.

However, the magic of floating is more than buoyancy. It’s the powerful combination of weightlessness infused with silence. Floating offers reprieve from the sound of life’s hustle and bustle and sanctuary for the brain to tune out from distraction and tune into internal balance.

With the temperature of the water around 96 degrees F (or a balmy 35 C for my metric friends) the body seamlessly melts into skin temperature waters reducing the homeostatic differences our mind constantly notes. When we reduce markers of the outside world; sounds, shapes, lights, textures, time, or gravitational pull, we reduce the stimuli our brains have to balance. Which means the captain between our ears can take a beat to breathe and be more effective with its bandwidth. And better bandwidth means better recovery.

Regardless of the title around the movement in your everyday life, the benefits of floating are unmatched by our nightly routines and weekend lounges. Next time you reach for that afternoon pick-me-up or wake up tired, ask yourself “have I fulfilled my movement deficit as well as possible?” then consider experiencing the healing escape of the float tanks.

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