Ten top tips for taking good care of your body after aerial sessions
Yes circus hurts!! We know that so here are some handy tips for looking after your body post aerial session and giving it that bit of extra TLC it needs. It's the only body you have so please look after it well.
1. Pumice stone for callous hands - if your hands are developing that yucky hard skin after too much time on the bar give them a good rub in the shower with a pumice stone (or callous razor) to remove all the dead, tough skin. Keep callous hands moisturised and supple as tough, dry skin will tend to rip more easily. And remember callous hands are a good thing when it comes to aerial as it's the bodies way of building in protection for the hands.
2. Caring for rips - if you do get a rip as in a callous that rips open or hands that blister, make sure you clean your hands carefully. Use a disinfectant on the open wounds. You might want to follow that up with moisturising antibiotic ointment. The key to healing a rip is to keep the new skin supple as it toughens up during the healing process. You will also want to keep the wound clean and covered while it heals. Be careful with training on open callous hands - ideally you want to let them heal before you work on them again as you will only open them up once more.
Also good to note is that the most common cause of blisters and rips is over gripping of the apparatus. This is due to fear of falling - obviously you need to grip the bar but you don't need to over grip it to death. There is a happy medium where you are holding the bar safely but not too tightly that it causes friction to the hands.
3. Moisturise your hands after aerial - if you have been using rosin during class then best practice is to wash your hands after with soap and hot water and then moisturise as well. Rosin tends to dehydrate the skin and if you are developing callous hands you will definitely want to keep hands soft and supple.
4. Stress ball to develop good grip - if your hands ache too much when you start out in silks, it's because you don't have enough grip power. Get a stress ball or grip training tool and work on your hand strength at home. Or if you have a pull up bar at home - chuck a towel over it and then practice gripping the towel (and hanging off it) the hands will very quickly toughen up.
5. Cover your skin for protection against friction burns - if you slide on a silk it will burn your skin so always wear leggings that cover the backs of your legs and possibly a short sleeved top for moves such as crucifix flip. Never slide down a silk with your hands - that's asking for trouble. Friction burns are not a pretty site and want to be avoided wherever possible. Also the hoop will burn the backs of your knees in hocks position so again wear leggings for protection
6. Foam roller and tennis ball to help with muscle tension - when we train a lot our muscles get tight and sometimes develop painful little knots. Foam rolling is a great way to release tension and self massage (see blog post here on How to Rock on Your Roller) as is placing a tennis ball under the knot and pressing into it to help release it.
7. Muscle soreness - soreness is generally caused by using muscles you are not used to using (see blog here on Sore Today Strong Tomorrow). To ease this make sure you stay hydrated before, during and after any aerial session. Make sure you do a good warm up and cool down. Keep your muscles warm to improve blood flow to those areas. Hot baths and muscle rubs are good for muscle stiffness.
8. Arnica for bruising - available from Health Food shops in either cream or homeopathic tablet form. This is the best way to deal with a bruise as it's a completely natural
remedy - I always have arnica at the ready for dealing with those ouchee times! Also good to take as preventative, for example if I know I have a training session booked in where I want to run through some drops or painful moves I'll take arnica beforehand as well.
9. Use Ibuprofen or Tiger Balm on muscles - although I am not a big advocate of pharmaceutical drugs, if I have done a hard training session and am expecting aches, pains or bruises I sometimes take a painkiller (although this is only really a last resort) to help reduce inflammation, and often rub in some Tiger Balm (or other such warming gel) on stiff, sore muscles, as this usually helps ease some of the pain.
10. Always ice damaged muscles - if you have suffered a bruise or tear (and are feeling the 'this is not ok pain') always try and ice it immediately and take a painkiller if necessary - this will help to stop inflammation. It is the inflammation that makes an injury impossible to move, if you can bring down the inflammation then it won't seem quite so painful. If you can rest it and elevate it as well this will help. Make sure you get injuries checked if they are hurting a lot.
Did you like this post? If so please like, comment and share to anyone else who you think may be interested in this. Also I'd love to know any top tips you do for taking care of your body...