The importance of rest
Rest and recovery (r&r), something that many athletes, gym goers and fitness enthusiasts don’t fully understand the importance of until they find themselves injured. Injured or not making progress despite their strong efforts. R&R is critical in terms of sports performance.
Psychology for athletes is very complex as many coaches will drill the ‘train harder, train more and become better’ approach into their minds at an early age. I did both varsity soccer and cross country my freshmen year, I would be working out between 3-5 hours 6 days a week. Looking back I’m not sure how I managed it. In the end I did get injured but not until the season was almost over. I pushed my body hard and didn’t give it anything back in return. In my mind I thought that if I pushed through fatigue, I would become stronger, I would be better. I’m now aware that is the wrong mindset, too bad it took this many years to figure out.
During exercise muscle tissue breaks down and glycogen stores are depleted. The human body can only go so long without proper re-fueling and rest. When we rest, our bodies are able to replenish these lost stores and build back damaged muscle tissue. This process is only capable with adequate rest. Without rest our bodies continue to break down muscle tissue which if done for a long period of time can lead to decreased performance and/or injury.
Rest days are very important both physically and mentally. Physically rest days are when our bodies can do the best job at replacing those lost glycogen stores and repairing muscle tissue. Mentally they can provide us time to gain back focus and spend time doing other things we enjoy that we may not typically have time for.
Active recovery is also an important part of growing stronger. After intense exercise we should use active recovery to help cool down our bodies, instead of just stopping or immediately stretching. Active recovery is low intensity/low impact exercise. You can also do it on your day’s off from training, activities such as walking or light yoga. Who doesn’t enjoy a cup of coffee and a walk with a close friend? Don’t lie to me.
YES, but only with proper recovery. Source.
My tips to recover more efficiently:
- Eat protein and carbs post workout, use the intensity of your workout and how you are feeling to help decide how much of both.
- Make sure you are drinking lots of water throughout the day.
- Stretch and cool down after exercise. Foam rolling is amazing and helps to loosen up tight muscles.
- Try yoga.
- Ice. Using ice can also help reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Make sure your sleeping well and enough. If your not waking up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to go your most likely not getting adequate sleep
- Take rest days, both planned and unplanned. Don’t be afraid to take a day off if your just not feeling it. I’m not saying you just don’t feel like going, but if you really can’t get yourself mentally into it and it would just be a miserable training session then by all means do some active recovery and re-focus for the next day. Missing one session isn’t going to make or break you in the long run if it’s what your body needs.
Enjoy your day and thank you for reading 🙂
What are some of your tips/tricks for a more efficient recovery?