You’ve been there: The thumping beats in your heart-pumping workout class are winding down, your to-do list has come a-knocking, and so you take off, abandoning the cooldown stretch. In an age when we’re always on the go, many fitness devotees value intensity but ignore the recovery component.
Not a good idea, according to the pros: Stretching is vital to protect joints and mobility.
As a side effect of high-intensity workouts, recovery gyms are popping up across the country, offering cocktails of treatments such as assisted stretching and compression therapy, all geared toward preventing injury and sustaining mental and physical recovery. And while professional stretching is de rigueur for heavy hitters (hedge-funder Bobby Axelrod on Showtime’s Billions is always getting stretched out), recovery gyms may not just be a passing fad for the über-wealthy. “People today are working out harder and firing on all cylinders for more hours of the day,” says Amy Swift Crosby, co-owner of Boston recovery gyms BDY SQD, where clients loosen up through muscle-release sessions with a recovery coach to curb everything from post-workout soreness to pain caused by chronic illness. The relief that’s achieved through manual manipulation is hard to replicate on your own, says Crosby.
Recovery coaches serve as investigators, helping identify the root of problem areas and treating them with methods such as percussive therapy with an electronic handheld massage device, and myofascial release to break up adhesions in the tissue. The goal? Saving the client months of discomfort.
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