With how prevalent fitness and exercise are in most lifestyles, many people still fail to understand the importance of rest days and recovery periods. When you’re putting yourself through so much stress and exertion during your workouts, you need to give your body time to repair itself and come back stronger.
Apart from repairing and growing muscles, giving yourself enough rest can also help you avoid any serious injuries such as overuse injuries, stress fractures, and muscle strains that could keep you away from the game for long periods and negatively impact the effectiveness of your workout. Giving yourself at least one or two chill days in the week will also help ensure optimal performance for your next workout sessions.
Here are some components of an effective workout recovery for you to consider!
Getting Enough Sleep
We all know how important sleep is for your overall health and well-being, but it also gives your body the chance to really concentrate on repairing the microscopic damages that your workouts leave in your muscle fibers, making it a cornerstone to effective recovery.
During your nightly rest, your body actually releases growth hormones that aid in muscle repair and growth, which is one reason why you should always aim to get the recommended seven to nine hours each night.
Nourish and Fuel Your Body
They say that you are what you eat, and this is especially true when you see your diet and nutrition as your body’s energy source, as well as the building blocks being used to fix any damage from your workouts. When you want to maximize your rest period and help your body fully repair itself, it’s important to eat balanced meals that are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
This principle also applies to the meals that you eat right after your workouts as these nutrients are being used to replenish your depleted glycogen stores.
When you realize that your body is mostly made of water, it starts making much more sense that it needs adequate hydration to work at its best. Dehydration actually impairs and inhibits the body’s ability to recover, which is why you should always ensure that you’re drinking enough every single day, especially during and after your workouts.
Most people who exercise regularly find it difficult to stay at home and do nothing all day, but the good news is that you don’t have to. You can instead spend your rest days engaging in active recovery, which is the act of doing gentle and low-intensity exercises that get your blood pumping and reduce muscle soreness without putting any additional strain on your body and muscles. Active recovery workouts can include yoga, swimming, light jogging, and more.
Have Regular Rest Days
Contrary to popular belief, indulging in a rest day or two in the week isn’t a sign of weakness. If anything, it’s actually a necessity that’ll help you progress through your fitness journey much more sustainably. Not only does it help you fully recover from your intense workouts, but it also reduces the risk of burnout, loss of motivation, or overtraining.
Experts recommend at least one rest day in a week, though this might increase depending on the intensity of your workouts. At the end of the day, it’s all about listening to your body and adjusting your training sessions accordingly.
One way that you can spend your rest days is by stretching out your muscles. Incorporating regular stretching and mobility exercises into your routine will help improve your flexibility, reduce muscle strain and tension, improve overall athletic performance, and much more.
There are so many different stretching and workout tools available if you feel like you’re not getting enough of a stretch, such as foam rollers, yoga blocks, and yoga balls. You should always do what works for you.
Article by Born Realist