It's no secret, our gyms see many more visitors during the first few weeks of the year--and we'd love to keep seeing all of you for the rest of the year! One thing that gets in the way of maintaining an exercise habit is doing too much too soon. Those New Year's resolutions are super motivating, but make sure enthusiasm to start an exercise program doesn't get ahead of your body's ability to rest and recharge. Read on for Dr. Taglio's good advice on the importance of rest and recovery.
Rest is an extremely important part of any exercise program and arguably just as important as diet and exercise. Muscles repair and gain strength while you are resting and energy levels are replenished. A combination of sleep and time spent not training, will not only allow damaged tissues to repair, but will also bring recovery and balance to your body’s hormones, chemicals, nervous system and mental state.
Signs you are over-training or just need to rest:
- You’re always sore and stiff or have pain in your muscles and joints
- Workouts seem to be requiring more of your effort and your performance is suffering
- You seem to be getting injured easily or have chronic injuries that are not getting better
- You are moody and irritable
- You are burnt out
- You are constantly tired or exhausted, no matter how much sleep you get
- Sleep issues - you need excessive sleep to fuel workouts or you have insomnia, even when you are very tired
- Lowered Immune System - you get sick often
- Weight loss has plateaued
What Does Rest and Recovery Look Like?
Sleep - Do not skimp on your sleep, as adequate levels (at least 7 hours, consistently) are needed for proper tissue repair, hormone balance and good mental health.
Stretch - put extra time into stretching to restoring flexibility to sore or painful areas. Add yoga into your weekly routine to keep your body limber, prevent injuries and help speed tissue recovery. Doing the same exercises day after day (running, cycling etc.) or tearing muscle fibers by weight training, without proper rest and stretching, will eventually lead to injury. Proper muscle and joint mobility is critical to prevent dysfunctional movement patterns.
Massage and Chiropractic - Self-myofascial release, foam rolling or having your muscles professionally worked out by a good therapist, can help break up painful adhesions in the tissues that can accelerate healing. Chiropractic adjustments will align your spine and free up fixations within joints that can contribute to poor movement patterns and injury.
Sauna - research shows benefits of sauna for relief of pain and increased mobility as well as a release of anti-inflammatory compounds such as noradrenaline, adrenaline, cortisol and growth hormones and natural pain-killing endorphins.
Get Proper Nutrients - Eating nourishing meals full of good nutrients will help accelerate tissue repair. Be conscious of what you put into your body as everything you eat has the ability to heal and detoxify or harm and toxify.
Rest Your Body and Mind - Schedule rest days into your week. Most injuries are the result of over-training and not taking enough time off for the body to repair. Exercise is great for our minds, making us happier due to the rush of endorphins however, endorphins are accompanied by cortisol (a stress hormone), that when remaining high for extended periods of time, can affect mental health and disrupt hormones. Take time off, reflect on your progress over the past week and make new goals for next week.
It is much easier to schedule in rest days to relax, stretch, nourish, hydrate and repair than it is to try and recover from an injury from over-training. As always, listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs!
As a wife and mother of two active little boys, Dr. Taglio understands that life is busy and can easily get out of balance. She knows how important healthy habits are in maintaining a healthy family. She is committed to addressing the whole body and takes a multi-pronged approach to improving the function of the nervous system, by removing nerve interference through chiropractic, addressing nutritional components and incorporating neuromuscular re-education to maintain spinal health and stability. She has made it her mission to help people not only feel great, but also help them reach their highest potential, in whatever their endeavors are. She has a love for children and their healing through chiropractic and nutrition.
The opinions expressed here represent those of the author. California Family Fitness will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Always consult your physician before beginning any nutrition or exercise program.