As everyone jumps into their New Year’s resolutions with lofty goals and aspirations, we want to encourage you to consider adding another important goal to your regimen – Get More Rest!
The beginning of the year is usually the time when people begin to dive into reshaping eating habits, and waist lines. It’s important to remember to proceed with a plan that is suitable to you, and within the realm of your personal limits. Many people exceed their capabilities; they do not give their bodies enough nutrition, and do not allow for adequate time to rest, recover, and rebuild. This is a recipe for disaster. A highly grueling workout routine with little rest and/or recovery days, especially for beginner exercise enthusiasts, leaves the body in a severe deficit and will more likely land you in one of our sports medicine clinics rather than into your new skinny jeans. While we absolutely support those who work hard to meet their goals, we would like to take a moment to provide some information so that you can reach your goals more safely. Go on and proceed with your P90x double days, beginner ultra-marathon training, or Arnold Pump You Up Plan. Just tackle it with a little more caution and knowledge this time!
Rest is critical to all athletes – no matter the level. There are many metabolic processes that are influenced by exercise, and to maintain balance, the body needs time to rebuild and restore. Here are our top 3 reasons to add adequate rest to your exercise program.
1. Avoid injury and illness – Lets face it, injuries stink. They put you on the sideline instead of in the game. Sometimes it impairs your ability to not only do the activities you love, but can also impair your normal every day routines. When the body is not given enough rest between workouts, your body becomes more susceptible to overuse injuries – tendonitis, stress fractures, and other inflammatory driven conditions. Even more than that, when your body is adjusting to workout routines, the immune system can become overloaded with all of the new demands placed on it. It too needs time to recover, if not, it may make you more susceptible to illness.
2. Muscles need time to catch up – Here is something not everyone knows, muscle fibers actually tear during strength training activity! That soreness you feel is a culmination of both micro-tears and the acids that build up in the after burn of exercise. These micro-tears actually lead to stronger muscles as the body adapts to the workouts. However, if they aren’t given time to recoup, you could set yourself up for a true muscle injury.
3. Improve your exercise capacity – That’s right! The only way your body can truly adapt to the increasing demands of your exercise routine is through rest. So if you’re wondering why you have hit a wall in your training, or even worse, you have declined in your ability, take a look at the amount of rest you are getting.
The consequences of demanding exercise routines are not pretty. In extreme circumstances, it can lead to a medical condition known as Over Training Syndrome. The highlights of this disorder include impaired physical performance, as well as sleep disturbances, mood changes, and can even affect your endocrine and central nervous systems. Although research has yet to agree on the exact physiological cause, they do agree on the cure: REST! Even the most highly trained individuals (except Chuck Norris of course) make time to rest and recover with the addition of light routines, and cross training, as well as off days.
In conclusion, be sure to take on all of your resolutions with both vigor and sensibility. Adding rest days to your new fitness plans may be the missing piece that helps you reach your goals safely this year.