You can get the best out of your body using psycho-physical relaxation techniques. Find out how!
We have already taken a look, several times, at those physical disciplines that can enhance your training in the water through complementary muscular workouts. We have referred to these disciplines as “dryland training” and they have included different types of physical training. What we are looking at today could be included in this category, but it is basically mental training that has enormous physical benefits.
Autogenous training is a series of relaxation exercises/techniques for the body based on mental stimulation. To give you a quick idea of what we are talking about, here’s a very quick mental exercise. Think intensely about a lemon. Can you picture it? Okay, now imagine biting into this lemon to drink its juice.
You will probably notice that you are salivating more. This is due to a form of mental stimulation causing the kind of reaction you would have if you actually bit into a real lemon.
Well, autogenous training works the same way: mental projections resulting in actual physical changes. These changes provide a layer of mental relaxation and concentration that helps replenish energy, loosen tight muscles or even get rid of tension, stress and anxiety, allowing you to concentrate better before performing. This will allow you to make full use of your resources before a race or training session!
Just like everything else, there is no point in only doing the exercises suggested here once. They need to be done regularly, almost on a daily basis, in order to get all the benefits outlined above
Perform these exercises in the following conditions:
There are six basic exercises:
1. HEAVINESS: to relax your muscles you need to imagine your body feeling heavy. “My right arm feels heavy”. Then say the same thing about your left arm and so on until the feeling spreads right through your entire body.
2.HEAT: following the same procedure, relax your vascular system, because imagining heat will cause peripheral vascular dilation.
3. HEART: you will relax even more by controlling your heartbeat. “My heartbeat is slow and steady”.
4. BREATHING: “My breathing is slow and steady”.
5. SOLAR PLEXUS: focus on this part of your nervous system that is connected to various central organs, such as your stomach and liver. “My solar plexus feels pleasantly warm”.
6. COOL FOREHEAD: vascular constriction helps you relax your head, so repeat “my forehead feels pleasantly cool”.
Repeat each of these five exercises 5-6 times before moving onto the next step.
This technique needs to be learnt and that takes time. For the first few times, I advise using audio-visual aids that will help until these mental exercises become second nature.
Have fun relaxing!!!