22 Oct Rest: Your Secret Recovery Weapon
Rest. It sounds simple, but so many of us fail to do it very well – even when our bodies demand it. Whether it’s work, family, fitness, or other demands stealing your energy, getting enough rest is key to staying healthy and recovering after a long day, tough workout, or injury. Unfortunately, too often we ignore our bodies’ cries for rest and push through fatigue, push through pain, and keep pushing until rest isn’t just an option but an eventuality due to burn out or injury!
Active people are used to keeping their engines in gear, juggling busy schedules, bad weather, even global pandemics, to make their weekly workout time, mileage goals, and planned activities possible. Busy fitness fans are often at risk for both overuse injuries and overtraining. Overuse injuries come from, simply put, overuse. Activity that’s “too much, too soon” – or too repetitive can lead to higher injury risks. Overtraining is when you ignore warning signs that you’re overdoing it and continue training: you may see a loss in performance, increase in fatigue, injury, or increased risk of illness.
We get it! If you’re recovering from an existing injury or other musculoskeletal issue, it’s tempting to do as much as you can to speed your recovery. You may stretch often, or do extra sets of exercises hoping to heal your muscles and tissue. You may keep the same schedule, with a busy work week and weekends packed with plans, allowing little time for real rest – only to be impatient that your healing isn’t as fast as you wanted.
Rest is your body’s secret weapon. Sleep is when your body repairs damage done, whether it’s from a work out or injury, so skipping sleep is a major mistake. Don’t just focus on sleep, though. Rest can mean taking a break from your usual workout routine, cutting back on some of your fitness plan, or shifting your activity toward more gentle and less strenuous activity. Rest doesn’t mean hibernating for the winter like a bear (although sometimes that’s tempting!). Here are some tips to get much-needed rest and super-charge your body’s recovery.
- Pay attention to your body. If you notice regular fatigue, low energy levels, consistent soreness, slow recovery, poor performance, frequent illness, and other indicators of overtraining, it’s time to work rest into your plan.
- Include rest as part of your fitness plan. If you have cardio days, weight training days, cross training days – you need REST days.
- Don’t underestimate the value of a nap! We know you can’t “catch up” on chronic lack of sleep by occasionally sleeping in on the weekend; however, you can give your body a break by taking a nap when you’re tired and improving your bed time…
- Improve your sleep schedule. It isn’t easy to get enough sleep in our hectic world, but make an effort to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on the weekends.) Read here for more on sleep hygiene.
- Alter your activities to help you recover. Every day can’t be a heavy work out day. Switch up your activity: trade a tempo run for yoga, or a hard bike ride for a slow walk.
- Work closely with your Physical Therapist to achieve the best possible recovery. Follow the custom treatment plan provided, and remember that sometimes less truly is more.
- Pick a time every week or every other week to do something totally different: try learning an online dance (bonus: your kids may give you some space), go ice skating, try Yoga or Pilates, read that book you’ve been meaning to read, try a new recipe… giving your body some rest and some self care.
We’re here to help you improve your fitness, training, recovery, and daily life. If you’ve stalled out and can’t seem to make progress on your own, it’s time to bring in an expert – and we have a deep bench. Our caring team of expert Physical Therapists works with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to help you, too. We are both locally-owned and operated with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Indy/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t struggle on your own, call or click today to get the best team in town in your corner!