Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Area of Relief

My husband and I like to joke about the area of relief in our house, which tends to vary constantly between rooms and large surface areas.  We keep a pretty clean and orderly home, but there is always, at one time, a single space that acts as a safety valve and functions as a place of disarray.  Sometimes it's our basement or the guest bedroom or the kitchen table.  The area of relief is a space, physical or intangible, where you let disorder rule in an otherwise ordered life.  In the microcosm of the home that appears perfect to all, you know that there is a closet in danger of exploding with junk if it were to be opened.  Or the basement, which you always brush off during home tours as "oh it's just the basement, you don't want to see that."

I think many people also find area of reliefs in their personal, professional and training lives.  But while a messy closet is an innocent area of of relief, it can be dangerous to neglect certain areas as an athlete.  Enter my 'training' area of relief:  stretching.

As a fighter, my warm-up at the gym consists of jumping rope and shadow-boxing.  When I do lift weights, it typically occurs after I've trained or taught kickboxing, meaning that I've already completed my standard jump-rope, shadow-box, heavy-bag warm-up.  Because we teach all the classes at the gym, including striking, grappling, conditioning, weight-lifting and Kali, Mike and I stumble out of the gym immediately after our last workout without taking a moment to stretch.  Our 'cool-down' consists of business matters:  answering questions, giving advice, accepting tuition payments or chatting about random topics (sometimes more serious topics occur after Kali, including home defense, the legalities of carrying weapons and, of course, the zombie apocalypse). 

Every New Years, we resolve to stretch more, to do yoga twice a week, to take better care of ourselves.  Yet within a month our desire to stretch is as neglected as the new pair of running shoes of an inveterate coach potato. 

This year, I am again going to try to implement stretching and cool-downs on a regular basis.  I've decided to use my fight timer and force myself to do 10 minutes of dynamic and static stretching at least three times a week.  Is that sufficient for someone who trains twice a day, six days a week?  Hell no.  But it's a start.

What is your area of relief?

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