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New emphasis on active recovery from fitness experts has sparked a wave of low-impact classes in studios across London. From self-massage to meditation, here are eight ways to make the most of your rest day.
Cult studio Barrecore’s Stretch offering is designed to aid recovery in muscles used specifically in ballet-style classes. Using myofascial release techniques alongside lengthening stretches to ease tension, aches and pains, this 45-minute class will leave you feeling energised and restored.
Focussing on the power of music and cinematic visuals, new studio FLY LDN guarantees an experience like no other. With recent studies showing sedative, chill-out music can positively influence psychological and psychophysiological aspects of recovery, FLY LDN’s classes help to control cortisol levels, aiding both mental and physical recovery. Dubbing itself as the “non-yogi yoga studio”, rest assured this East London outpost is for people of all skill levels.
If you spend hours hunched over a desk, Frame’s Bend It Like Barbie class will set you straight. Available at Frame studios across the capital, this 45-minute class focusses on stretching out your whole body – shoulders, spine, hamstrings and hip flexors. Ideal for stressed-out city workers and keen runners alike, regular attendance will guarantee a more flexible body and longer, leaner limbs.
Designed to bookend one of DEFINE London‘s heart-raising workouts (think barre, mat-based pilates and dance), this 30-minute stretching session comes highly rated. This class will aid movement and recovery by releasing fascia, the dense, fibrous connective tissue that encompasses muscles and bones. DEFINE founder Ashley Verma claims the class encourages muscles to recover in double time, so book in for supercharged results.
Committed to making getting sweaty and out-of-breath fun, Gymbox’s tongue-in-cheek S&M (that’s Stretch & Massage) class isn’t for the faint-hearted. Based around the foam roller, this 45-minute offering will get to work on unwanted knots and tightness triggered by strength and endurance training. The length and intensity of the session make it ideal for those training for a race or triathlon.
Looking for an alternative recovery practice? Book in for iconic London yoga studio Triyoga’s Yoga Nidra class, which harnesses the power of meditation to put you in a state of conscious deep sleep that’ll unwind the nervous system and induce complete relaxation. Proof that not all recovery needs to come via a foam roller, this restorative practice offers emotionally and physically healing.
London’s only reformer-based stretch class, this unique session focusses on the spine as well as tight hips and shoulders. Using the traditional pilates reformer to enable a deeper, more effective stretch, this hour-long class also aims to improve flexibility and posture. Never tried a reformer? Fear not – TenStretch is less intense than a standard reformer class and designed for beginners and pilates enthusiasts alike.
Designed to explore the three m’s – massage, mobilisation and maximising performance – Equinox’s RX Series class will take you through a range of self-myofascial massage techniques using yoga therapy balls, rollers and other props. Ideal for gym junkies, runners with niggles and those looking to improve their posture, this self-massage treatment may just fill in for the real thing.