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The Benefits of Adding Restorative Exercise To Your Workouts

Date:Wednesday March 24, 2021

If you’re like most first responders, you’ve experienced first-hand the aches and pains that accompany a particularly grueling shift. While working out on and off the job to maintain strength is very helpful, there is more you can do to prevent injury, feel energetic, and fully rest when you’re away from your first responder job.


Restorative exercise are the key forms of stretching, flexibility training, and resting postures that help your body make the most of a hard cardio or aerobic workout. A great example of these exercises is yoga, a series of postures that helps your whole body while cementing many of the benefits of your other workouts.


What’s great about yoga and other restorative exercise is that, in addition to using them all the time as part of a regular workout regimen, many of the poses in yoga are good for addressing particular aches and pains. If you’ve experienced back pain, for instance, yoga instructors can recommend poses and movements that protect your back while still moving it and promoting less pain over time.


You’ll obviously want to talk to your medical care team if you have a major injury or illness, since all yoga movements aren’t right for every person all the time. However, if you are looking to get the protection of regular flexibility training when you are generally healthy, yoga may be a great method.


Here are some first movements for first responders to add to their daily routines; see if they help you feel more prepared to meet the day:

  • Cat-Cow Pose: This pose begins on all fours, with alternations between arching one’s back and moving the head down, and rounding your back down while pulling your head up. You can deepen this stretch over time, and it does a good job offsetting repetitive action and sedentary work, when you find yourself in a chair or seat all day.
  • Warrior Poses: There are multiple variations, but the basic Warrior 1 pose is a version of a lunge that stretches your legs and arms while activating your core. Learn Warriors 1, 2, and 3 to create a sequence to try whenever you need a quick, couple-minutes break.


While trying yoga in a class is a great way to develop strong habits and good form with these exercises, you also can view a variety of tutorials on YouTube to get started. See yoga and other restorative exercise as an experiment when you have mild aches and pains or tightness. If your yoga practice helps you feel better, stronger, and more flexible, continue it!



  • The main Yoga for First Responders page is a great place to start if you aren’t very familiar with this program already.
  • You can use restorative exercise for many things, including stress and burnout, tight muscles from exertion, insomnia, or another physical or mental ailment. Yoga Journal’s pages on specific kinds of yoga can be very helpful in that regard.
  • Yoga with Adriene is an example of a Youtube channel with many easy-to-follow free yoga tutorials that can help you try the above-mentioned exercises.

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