Rest and Recovery

Today we are tackling the subject of rest and recovery. 

We get it.  We are also guilty of trying to “do it all”.  We are the first to admit that if we don’t make it to that 515am bootcamp or finish that seven mile run that we feel that we have somehow failed.  That we have let ourselves down.  Or worse yet, let others down. But here’s the deal.  Sometimes its just too much.  You need to rest.  You need to recover.  You need to be willing to give yourself a break.  Is it easy?  Not always!  But here are some of the reasons why rest and recovery is so important as well as ways you can maximize your rest time.

Why rest?

  • Our bodies adapt to stress.  And exercise is stress.  Good stress, but still stress.  So give yourself time to adapt!
  • Our bodies need sleep.  Newsflash!!  Seriously though, studies have proven many times over how important getting an adequate amount of sleep is.  We are constantly flooded with advice to “wake up before your kids”, “pursue your dreams after everyone is in bed”.  Hmmm… Something doesn’t add up there!  The thing is, you may be at your best in the morning.  So go for it!  Take that time to yourself before your household awakens to drink your coffee, journal, go for a run.  But you better be making up for it by getting to bed early the night before!  It seems that the current theme is that we must “do it all”.  Unfortunately if we follow this mindset we won’t have the energy or that stamina to “do” those things right.  Remember it less about doing and more about BEING.

Why recovery?

  • We can talk about recovery in many different contexts: recovery from a hard training session, recovery from an illness, recovery from an injury.  In all these cases the basic idea is the same.  Our bodies need recovery time in order to replenish our energy stores and heal our tissues. 
  • Throw the notion of “no pain no gain” away!  If your body is hurting it is trying to tell you something.  Listen!  Listen to your body’s cues that it is time for a break.  Some other cues to look for?  Increased irritability, poor sleeping patterns, elevated resting heart rate, compromised immunity.  All signs that your body has had too much!  And is literally breaking down. 
  • So fuel your body.  Fuel it with proper nutrition.  Fuel it with proper hydration.  And fuel it with adequate recovery time. 

So now you are hopefully convinced that it is OKAY to take a break every now and then.  That it is ESSENTIAL for you to listen to your body’s cues that it is time for a rest.  But what does that look like?  And what do we do to compensate for giving up our daily work outs or training schedule.

  • Modify.  Try yoga.  Take a walk in the woods.  Work on your core.
  • Meditate.  Learn ways to let go of stress and anxiety.  Focus on yourself.
  • Sing.  Meditation not your thing?  Turn up your favorite song.  Dance it out.  Trust us the endorphin rush will rival any “runner’s high” you have experienced!

The key to a beneficial and fulfilling rest and recovery period is filling that time with things that fuel you.  Fuel your body.  Fuel your soul.  Fuel your mind. 

Rest and laughter are the most spiritual and subversive acts of all.  Laugh, rest, slow down.

Anne lamott

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