Good news — rest is as important as exercise!
Yep, you read that correctly! Most blogs around fitness will be focused on the exercise portion; but it is important to acknowledge that rest is one of the keys to health and directly affects how your body is impacted by the exercise you do.
Avoid the plateau
If you keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results….well you know the rest! If you feel like you are not gaining muscle or getting more stamina or more flexibility then you have to look at all the underlying reasons that could cause that response from the body. The most overlooked one is rest. You must allow the body time to adapt after exercise to see the results you need. This is why professional athletes and dancers do not do the exact same routine every day; they could be running on a treadmill one day, doing a pilate class the next and swimming after that, followed by an exercise free day. This keeps the body guessing what’s coming next and allows certain muscles groups a chance to have some down time and therefore time to repair and grow.
Where’s my Phosphates at?
Phosphates are the first energy source the body burns through when exercising. It lives in your muscles and is there largely to supply energy to you in a fight or flight mode/ survival need if it arises. It is enough energy to get you moving away from a mammoth or hippo but then your body needs to recharge, cavemen and women did this naturally by returning to their cave or shelter till they had rested but we have forgotten about that part of the cycle because of modern life and its demands on our time. If you continually burn that energy supply and don’t allow it to refill, your exercise becomes ineffective, leads to more potential injuries and will start activating your adrenal system when you don’t need it to (which leads to all sorts of issues that are hard to reverse).
Your mind is very much a part of your exercise routine. You will use it to remember good form, to follow instruction in a class, and to reach your goals. You will access your mind to override tiredness when you run, and to push you outside your comfort zone. But you are also using that mind at work and at home. You also need to take some time out for the mind to recharge. The mind when stressed or tired also affects the body’s functions so for example if you’re exercising to lose weight but you are stressed you may find that your body actually holds the weight — it reads what is happening as though you’re under attack and might need any fats in the body in case of emergency. To lighten the load you have to lighten the load — make sure to take that physical recharge day which will allow the mind to do the same.
So if you are exercising regularly and doing what you can to live a healthy lifestyle, enjoy that down time — you not only earned it, but you also need it!