Start Exercising in Bed and Weave in Small Bursts Throughout the Day; Soak in Epsom Salt to Soothe Muscles, Feel Relaxed, Sleep Better
As Americans make New Years resolutions to get in better shape, experts who train celebrities and top-ranked athletes offer some surprising tips for improving your health. Their advice includes exercising before getting out of bed, working out at your kitchen counter and soaking in Epsom salt.
“Epsom salt baths are my way of treating myself so that my body and muscles are feeling good and healthy,” said Sadie Lincoln, a renowned wellness expert and founder of barre3 – a unique style of whole-body health classes that combine ballet barre work, Pilates and yoga. “It’s a pure and simple pleasure.”
Lincoln’s workouts have attracted A-list celebrities and national magazines. She recommends that those starting to exercise begin with 10-minute sessions, such as a routine at the kitchen counter to develop lean legs and a lifted seat. (Here’s a video of a sample workout). If you feel OK, keep going, she said, but don’t push so hard that you feel defeated.
“You might spend an hour working out, and that’s great,” Lincoln said, “but what really counts is full body health and how that hour impacts the rest of your day.”
Among Lincoln’s tips:
- Keep four rubber bands on a 12-ounce bottle of water and remove one each time you refill it.
- Eat more foods with fiber, healthy fat and healthy protein, such as almonds, fish oil, avocados and apples with peanut butter. She also advises against sugar late at night or early in the morning. Here’s a recipe for Slow Cooker Moroccan Stew.
- Soak in a warm bath with about 2 cups of Epsom salt three nights a week. The Epsom salt will relax you, soothe your muscles and help you sleep, she said. At times, she’ll also add lavender essential oil.
Epsom salt, actually magnesium sulfate, can be absorbed through the skin and helps muscles in two ways, said Jay Cardiello, a globally recognized fitness and nutrition expert who trains Hollywood heavy hitters, chart-topping Grammy winners, TV personalities and top-ranked athletes.
Immediately after a workout, Cardiello suggests adding Epsom salt to cold water and soaking up to your navel. Exercising tears your muscle fiber, triggering more blood flow to that location and prompting the muscle to expand, he said. Like icing a child’s injury, putting cold water on the inflammation increases the range of motion, Cardiello said.
Two or three days after a workout, Cardiello also recommends adding Epsom salt to a warm water soak to help relax muscles and increase the blood’s supply of magnesium. One of his recipes calls for combining 2 to 4 TBSP of yellow mustard or yellow mustard powder with 1 cup of Epsom salt.
“Mustard has anti-inflammatory properties, and Epsom salt helps remove toxins and impurities,” Cardiello said. “It helps increase blood flow to the muscles.”
Cardiello founded JCORE, which offers a multi-faceted wellness program and a diet and healthy lifestyle plan. Among his tips:
- Sleep in exercise clothes to help ensure your day starts with a workout.
- Work out in bed when you wake up, because doing pushups or planking on an unstable surface will train your body to fire up quickly.
- Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth or do squats to help build muscles and improve your balance. (Here are his weekly workouts).
- Dance while getting dressed, a way to burn 50 calories and boost your mood.
- Listen to music while working out and smell peppermint beforehand. Both help alter your perception of how hard you’re exercising, making the workout seem a bit easier.
- Keep a journal of your exercise and diet, and share your progress and setbacks with supportive friends.
“One of the most imperative things is changing your behavior,” Cardiello said. “We quick-fix twice a year – at New Year’s and the start of beach season – but nothing is going to happen overnight. A pattern has to be broken.”
Note: For human use, the Epsom Salt Council recommends only Epsom salt with the USP designation.