Work hard, then play hard, right? Well, it’s more like train hard then rest easy. Exercise too much without resting and it can lead to health problems. Anytime between workouts is called recovery time, and it’s when the body heals and adapts to meet the next challenge. It builds muscle, repairs ligaments and tissues, and cleanses the body of toxins that build up from the workout. It also provides itself with nutrients and energy for it to go again. So, recovery is just as important as training. Workouts provide challenges for the body, and rest provides the time it needs to recharge.
When to Rest
When you’re tired, rest. Knowing the difference between when you don’t feel like it, and when your body is asking for a break takes some experience. Depending on the training, some people find they need days or weeks of recovery time in their routine. Sleep, diet, and lifestyle play a huge role in how much rest is needed. A general guideline to keep in mind is if you’re a bit sore, you challenged your body, and when it stops being sore, that’s enough rest.
Rest and Play Days
Resting doesn’t have to mean staying still. If it’s not challenging and less intensity than your workouts, doing activities and having some fun on your rest days is good for the body and mind. Stillness can help, but it doesn’t mean you have to lay on the couch all day either. Try changing up your activities, as long as you still take it easy. Remember to challenge yourself in increments, a little bit more each time, or else you’re going to need more recovery time in between workouts.
Sleep helps all areas of life, and it’s especially important for the body (and brain) to recharge. A good night’s sleep helps with increasing blood to the muscles and with better eating choices by regulating hunger and fullness. It also helps with hormones, moods, memory, and immunity. When we sleep, not only does the body repair itself, but the brain washes away waste toxins. Binge sleeping is not recommended, as regular sleep is the best way to feel fully rested.
Stress, Rest, Adapt
Anything at first is not easy, and then we get used to it and it becomes easier. The same goes for training. When the challenge increases, you see progression. When the challenge is too much for too long, the body becomes stressed and can’t keep up to the demands of maintaining good health. Risk of injury, illness, and even depression can happen when rest doesn’t. Recovery periods are important so the body can get used to the stress, adapt to it, and then get ready for the next round. How to do Short-Term and Long-Term recovery depends on your training routine. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy, replenishing fluids, and doing some low intensity activity all help with the recovery process. Overtraining poses health risks, so watch out for signs that you’re exercising too much. Listen to your body and record how you feel after a workout. Keeping track will help you to adjust your training and recovery periods.