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With extended periods of working from home, new social distancing measures for nearly every brick and mortar type, and seemingly little certainty as to when “normal” may return to our daily lives, a new age of fitness is upon us. From a dramatic rise (out of necessity) for virtual workouts, to people taking up running, cycling, powerwalking, and more like never before, we’re all diving headlong into new modalities of staying fit. In fact, in a recent survey, Mindbody found that roughly 33% of people have been exercising more since COVID-19 hit. (Insert “gaining the COVID-19" joke here...)
So, with increased exercise and all this running around, it’s safe to say that we’re also going to be experiencing some chinks in the armor, as it were. Some aches and pains in places we didn’t know existed. A lovely dull sensation here and there. Or a sharp and stabbing assault on a hip flexor... (speaking from very personal experience.)
This is precisely why we are so excited that our friends at RAD Roller have been helping us out. We recently used a few of their products to relieve pressure from sitting all day in our uncomfortable chairs, recover from our first 10-mile run, and align our bodies, so we’re able to work out tomorrow—and the day after, and so on, and so on, and so on...
Here are our experiences live and direct from the Mindbody HQ (AKA: our own homes):
Oh, the pressure of working from home. It’s definitely getting to all of us. Since I started working remotely, I’ve felt more pressure than EVER... in my back and neck.
When I worked in the office, I had a perfectly ergonomic desk setup. But now, I find myself hunched over my laptop on the couch most mornings—and at the end of the day, my neck and back feel it.
Pre-COVID, I had been to some yoga classes that involved roller balls (shout-out MELT at Yoga Branch Studio in North County, San Diego). I remember noticing such a difference in overall pain and tightness from the start of class to the final Savasana, just from rolling some magic little balls on a few points on my body.
So... when I saw RAD Roller’s Point Release Kit, I knew I had to try it. I read the reviews—most notably, one that mentions an ex-girlfriend's cold, dead heart—and was sold even further. I ordered it right away, and it was on my doorstep in days—a beautifully packaged block, three rounds, and a RAD Roller.
My first thought was, “WOW.” And my second thought, “What the hell do I do with this?” I started unfolding large posters with drawings of people using the product. Not gonna lie, I was a little overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, these drawings were super informative and easy to follow, but I just didn’t know where to start. So, I did what any sane person would do—I went to the internet.
After one quick Youtube search, I found a whole library of videos on RAD Roller’s channel. Because my goal (for now) was to focus on my back and neck, I chose this one and this one—and it hurt, so good. After following those videos just one time, I already noticed a huge difference in the tightness and mobility of my spine. I started doing these exercises, along with more I found on their channel, nightly to relieve my back pain and loosen up sore muscles after working out.
I cannot tell you how much of a difference this made.
I started incorporating the Point Release Kit into my at-home yoga practice. I typically flow every night before bed to wind down at the end of my day and stretch out my sore muscles. And often, I’ve felt like I needed a little extra help—especially since I’ve been feeling that extra pressure lately.
After just a couple weeks of using this kit in my practice, I already feel so much better. The biggest difference I notice is I’m sitting a lot more comfortably. I knew I was tense, but I didn’t realize just how tense everything was when I was just sitting or lying down. I feel more relaxed overall, settling comfortably into my makeshift WFH couch desk.
Magic little balls to the rescue.
Getting back into in-studio fitness is a hard thing to do post-COVID lockdowns. The classes and studio procedures are unfamiliar, and the workouts are hard. Like most people, I have been doing at-home classes, and it’s not quite the same. It’s easy to skip out on a cardio blast or come out of that plank early because no one is holding you accountable.
After getting back into in-person classes, my body felt really sore (my back and neck, especially, since I wasn’t used to working out this intensely). Enter: RAD Roller. It completely helped my body get back to feeling great again.
The RAD tools designed for the back all have a unique feature in common, the spinal recess. It’s a groove that allows you to avoid contact with the delicate bones of your spine and keep the release where you want it—in the muscles. It comes in all the right intensities, so you can pick the right level for you.
After using the RAD Roller, I did not expect my body to feel so good. I use it almost every day now and cannot live without it.
“Please remember to stretch, Will.” This is my wife after every single run I take. Roughly 50% of the time, I totally adhere to her advice (which I also read now as a plea). I’ve been running for years, but actively take time off when a new modality strikes my fancy—yoga and mountain biking, really.
But when COVID-19 hit, I decided I was going to finally start my training for a marathon. Starting small, I logged 4-5 miles a day with times ranging from 6:45/mi to 7:45/mi depending on my rum intake from the night prior. This blossomed into 8-10 miles/day at the same paces. And THIS quickly resulted in aches, pains, sprains, and tightness in areas I didn’t even know I had.
Luckily, around this time, and with having enough time on my hands to actually care about recovery and making sure I can sustain my running (and not injure myself), I got into rolling. I came back from a quick 10-miler (shut up, Will), to find an All-In Kit waiting for me courtesy of my friends at RAD Roller. TO say I was stoked would be a semi-understatement. Not even waiting for the sweat to dry, I ripped into the kit, grabbed the RAD Rod, and went to town on my quads. “It’s OK to cry, Will...” I kept telling myself.
After a few rounds with the rod, my quads were feeling, well, flushed and refreshed. So I decided to keep going and broke out the various rounds in the All-In Kit. I started with the Green massage ball and, proceeded to dig that bad boy into my hip socket (a recent pain point from my extended runs.) After more tears welled in my already-red eyes (it’s a good hurt, remember), I treated myself to quite literally a little pleasure. See, there’s this little black ball in the kit that, when you rub it in your hands or cheeks in just the right way, feels like what I imagine wellness heaven feels like.
I don’t go a day without using RAD in some way. From bored on Zooms to actually getting down and dirty on the floor, my body is in a constant state of alignment and refreshment.
From hyperextending my glutes while a collegiate athlete to tearing my calf last year in the middle of a workout class, if it’s a weird fitness-related injury that makes hilarious cocktail hour talk, I’ve done it. Suffice to say, I (and my legions of physical therapists) know the value of soft tissue recovery.
My current dilemma is related to my core. I’m a Pilates instructor, and teaching virtually means you work out while talking the whole time, which is extremely taxing on the abdominals. (It’s seriously tough, so thank your favorite instructors for being there for you!) It’s not uncommon for me to hit my weekend rest days with extremely sore abs and obliques. Unsurprisingly, I was stoked to try out the Centre, Rad Roller’s inflatable massage ball designed for the abdomen.
I’m not gonna lie and say my first use was pleasant, since it turned out that my abs needed A LOT of TLC. I started by just doing a few passes over the most tender parts of my core, spending just a few seconds in each spot while wiggling my body to keep the ball in motion. Over a few days, I was able to stay in each spot a bit longer and began exploring other parts of my body that could benefit from a soft-touch release.
The best spot? My wrists, hands, and forearms. I’m a writer by trade, which means they get a lot of abuse from typing, and don’t get a lot of recovery love. The Centre is soft enough that I can passively roll back and forth throughout my workday, and help loosen up some tight spots in my hands. Added bonus? It's a great way to use excess energy during your umpteenth Zoom meeting of the day.
I was not designed for the work-from-home life. My extrovert self misses my team, lunchtime walks, the ability to be in the same room for epic brainstorming, and most of all—our onsite massage therapist, Rob Chang.
At the beginning of shelter-in-place, I wasn’t ready to admit that I could be working from home for a while. I refused to set up a home office and instead hunkered down 8 hours a day at my dimly lit dining room table on a hard wooden chair. The weeks went by, and the work was stressful. I wasn’t prioritizing self-care, and it started to catch up with me. I gradually started to pain in my back where I’ve never felt it before, so much so it felt numb at times. My resistance to adjust to working from home was coming back to bite me—Rob Chang would not approve.
I finally gave in and got myself a desk, some monitors, an ergonomic chair, and even a footstool, but nothing helped to fix the damage I had already done—until I found the RAD Roller. Working with this little wonder after work each day has been a game-changer. A quick roll on my back and shoulders, followed by some pressure point work in the sweet spots is all I need to feel better at the end of a long day at the “office.”
Want to see what the hype's about? Shop online at radroller.com
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.