For the dedicated and enthusiastic athlete, taking time for quality rest and recovery days can be hard. We live in a society that values the “go, go, go” and “harder, faster, stronger” mantras so often recited in the fitness world. But both rest and recovery are essential parts of any training program. And beyond merely “giving you a break” implementing quality approaches to rest and recovery (yes, they are different) can enhance your performance.
What is rest and why is it important in your fitness plans?
In its most simplest terms, rest is a combination of sleep and time spent not training. We all know quality sleep is essential to good health. Making good sleep a priority is also essential to your training and performance as an athlete or for anyone simply wanting to make the most of their workouts.
How is recovery different? What are the best ways to utilize your recovery days?
Recovery is your approach to helping your body repair. Did you know that the process of building muscles requires you first tear them? We’re not talking major, injury-type tears. Rather, when you lift weights or do other strength training activities you are making tiny tears in your muscle tissue. As your body repairs and recovers that tissue becomes stronger. This is just one reasons why recovery is so crucial to proper training.
Some considerations for recovery include:
- Proper nutrition
- Dynamic alignment/posture
- Heat and Ice
- Connective tissue (myofascial tissue) release
- Stress Management
- Varied movement for greater mobility (standing, lying, sitting, gentle moving, etc.)
Proper recovery considers hormonal balance, emotional well being, and the structural elements of the body.