The Importance of Rest
Intense daily exercise can be dangerous and detrimental to achieving your goal.
You may think that by working out everyday or twice a day is crucial to achieving your goal.
Ever heard the phrase ‘train smarter, not harder’?
Not only does training smarter give your body much needed rest, it reduces the chances of injury.
So if we’ve just thrown a spanner in the works and you’re feeling a little lost on why rest is important, read on.
Excessive exercise risks
When we give our body’s prolonged bouts of stress (e.g. lots of intense exercise) it can lead to exhaustion. Which can lead to injuries such as muscle and joint strains, and even stress fractures.
Excessive exercise without proper rest can also lead to side effects such as mood swings, low immunity and a decrease in performance. It can also be a barrier to achieving a weight loss goal.
It is important to build recovery time into your training programme so the body can adapt to the stress of exercise. This will let the positive effects of the training take place.
Recovery is crucial
Recovery allows the body to repair damaged tissue and also replenish energy stores. This regeneration process also requires water and food to help rebuild body tissue, allowing them to grow back stronger.
If you’re one of those who get their sanity from being active, dedicate your rest days to stretching and low intensity. This could be a slow walk on the beach, a nice easy bike ride, or a cruisy swim.
Why sleep is so important
Sleep is an essential part of the regeneration process. Your body increases the production of growth hormone during sleep, this assists in rebuilding and repairing your muscles post workout.
Sleep is important for maintaining good health on many levels. That said, a couple of nights of bad sleep is not going to cause too much damage. Constant insufficient sleep can make subtle changes in hormone levels. Ideally, you need to be getting six to eight hours of sleep every night.
If your goal is muscle growth and/or gaining strength, your rest days are the ones where you allow your body to build muscle.
Protein intake should be high on these days to support ongoing muscle tissue growth and repair. Some of the best recovery foods include fast-digesting carbs (bananas), potassium (spinach), omega 3 fatty acids (salmon), and antioxidants (blueberries).
Keeping your body fuelled and hydrated is just as, if not more important, than training itself. People tend to keep a close eye on their hydration when exercising and neglect it for the rest of the day. Hydration intake during recovery not only helps you perform better but has lots of benefits, it can improve skin and hair quality, and lower levels of stress on the heart. failing to hydrate can lead to headaches and muscle fatigue.
Injury & Rest
Being injured doesn’t have to mean doing nothing! It means going back to the basics and working to correct the movement patterns that lead to the injury.
The best thing to do is take a break from overloading. You need to highlight your imbalances and over-compensations by doing some mobility work and foam rolling those muscles that may be overactive. This will help to get the correct muscles to fire when your training.
If you’re not getting the results you want, it could be due to overtraining, or the lack of sleep. Try and identify what the problem is and put a plan in place to rectify it.
And of course, we’re here to help.