Finding the right wellness routine is often a lot of trial and error. You ask your friends. You read up in magazines. You try to casually watch what other people are doing at the gym without seeming creepy.
It gets even more complex when you are looking for a routine to help with something specific, say, cutting a few strokes off your golf game or finishing your half marathon stronger. Maybe you need help recovering more quickly, or recovering at all, from your last big event.
We set out to find people who can both help you recover and help you be ready to tackle the next challenge. Here are three stories of the instructors, therapists and those who have prospered under their care.
Yoga for flexibility and staying power
After Connie Dillon decided to retire, she wanted to do what a lot of people who end up in Southwest Florida aim for—spend more time on the golf course. She was in pretty good shape and wasn’t too concerned about the effects of time just yet. But she couldn’t play as many days in a row as she’d like to.
“And I didn’t have as great of range of motion as I would have liked,” Dillon says.
So she sought out Wendy Campbell, a registered yoga instructor she’d met at a class at the club at La Playa. Campbell had worked for years with various athletes trying to get them in better competitive shape by working on stretching the muscles and teaching body awareness. She started working with athletes because she herself was a marathoner, something she swears she couldn’t do without yoga.
“There’s a big misconception about yoga,” Campbell says. “People are afraid because they aren’t flexible. But yoga is about finding your edge, about listening to your body. It’s helpful in so many ways.”
For Dillon, Campbell works on what she calls “plugging in the shoulder joints,” making sure everything is in the right place before Dillon begins her swing. Just working on those shoulder movements, along with more universal yoga poses, has already made a big difference in Dillon’s game.
She and her husband went on a golf trip with friends and she easily played three straight days without soreness, something that wasn’t the case for many of her compatriots. Dillon wonders why more golfers aren’t doing yoga. She says it isn’t a big time commitment and the results are there even for an amateur.
“I take Wendy’s class twice a week,” she says. “I don’t do everything perfectly, but I do the best I can. Now, I really like it. I’m stretching so good. Trying to get my husband to try. It would make his game much better.”
Brent Posey of the Waldorf Astoria Naples Spa believes in the healing power of touch.
The power of massage
From the beginning, Brent Posey has believed in the power of massage, even when those around him were a bit skeptical.
It started when he was 14 and trying to find some relief for his disabled father’s aches and pains. Posey went looking for something outside the traditional medical spectrum of pills. So he bought a book on massage.
It’s been his passion ever since. “I’ve really seen what can be done with the power of touch,” he says. “There’s just so much more you can do with the human hands than with machines.”
Posey said what makes a professional massage so much more effective than simply asking your partner to rub you where it hurts is the knowledge of the interconnectivity of human physiology.
“It’s not just the area where it hurts that needs attention,” Posey says. “You don’t just work around the sciatic nerve. You work the whole leg. Otherwise, you have a temporary solution to a permanent problem.”
For a long time Keith Goodman thought of massage as just a luxury item, something to do while his wife got a mani-pedi. But once he began experiencing a degenerative cartilage condition in his neck, he started to have different thoughts. A client of Posey’s for the past seven years, Goodman says he definitely considers it therapy because he can see the difference.
“It’s not an immediate thing,” Goodman says. “But when I wake up the next morning, I feel all that stiffness gone, all that pain gone. I notice that I stand up a little straighter, that I use my body better. And then in two or three weeks I start to feel the stiffness again.
“If it was financially feasible, I’d be getting a massage twice a week.”
Although he’s been able to make a steady living for more than a decade now as a massage therapist at what was formerly called the Golden Door Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Naples, Posey says massage is just now really starting to catch on as something to do more than as an occasional treat.
“People are caring more about their health and massage is becoming a bigger part of that,” he says.
Physical therapist and trainer Mike Willett, right, provides specialized service for folks looking to strengthen their golf game.
Improving his back and his swing
Mike Willett has an unusual business.
A physical therapist by trade, he’s also been a specialized personal trainer for more than a decade for folks who want to get the most out of their golf game.
Rarely does one client come in for both at the same time. But it’s not too infrequently that a client at one side of his business gets a little help on the other.
As a semi-retired (read: not really) attorney based in the Washington, D.C., area, but working from his home in Naples, Robert Greenberg came to Willett to help shave strokes off his game. See, he’s desperate to get his handicap into single digits and is getting tantalizingly close.
“It took me two years to go from a 12 to a 10,” Greenberg says, while acknowledging that at his age, 64, there aren’t many years left to make improvements. He would play two to three times per week, but chronic back spasms often kept him in the clubhouse.
When he mentioned the condition to Willett, the therapist went into his first discipline.
“The first thing you have to do is get people healthy to do everyday activities, what we call functional daily activities,” Willett says. “They need to be able to do those things without pain, because if they can’t and they are playing golf, most likely they are going to make the problem worse.”
So after an hour or two on the therapy table, Willett got the spasms under control. And they went back to training for golf. But with the knowledge of the previous condition, Willett knew what areas needed to be strengthened to keep Greenberg teeing it up as often as he liked—five days a week now, with no spasms to speak of.
“We look at the body from head to toe and show people how to get stronger and better in all areas,” he says, before adding his final pitch. “If you can be fit for golf, you are going to be feeling better overall.”