Myth Buster – Rest is key .. but for how long?
As humans we all need to rest! No we don’t get our power from solar energy although that does contribute but at the end of the day, we need sleep that thing we do at night where we lie there and not be active. It is amazingly boring but surprisingly good for you! Now I hate sleep, I think it’s a waste of time and if it were up to me I’d be up all night writing these strange (but hopefully informative) blogs! However, even I know that rest is key….
Rest is extremely important for muscle and tissue recovery especially after a heavy workout or if you are going through a phase of injury. Rest is very much a part of an exercise programme and for you to benefit and get the maximum gains from your goals then you need to do this resting business! Rest is also a key factor in brain activity and cognitive function and helps rejuvenate your mind and body. We need to be rested to function optimally…but for how long?
Ever heard of too much is also too bad?? Resting too much can also have reversible affects on your mind and body. If you take too much time out of exercising then your body goes through a catabolic phase where it will start breaking muscle down for energy and as muscle is a very much active tissue it needs a stimulus to keep it interested in looking good. It’s like trying to get a lady friend – you need to get out and do stuff rather than sitting at home gaming on minecraft! It’s the same with muscles, they need that excitatory stimulus which is activity to keep them going and building. Now if your rest periods are way too long then you will not be subjecting them to anything fun and they will eventually deteriorate. Not only that, your joints and tissues will suffer too as calcium will not bind as easily to bones as before causing weaker bones. Now for the most of us fitness freaks we hate rest and won’t want to do it for that long anyway but I know that lots of people get caught up in things and they rest for too long and this then eventually causes them to rest for longer and longer and then they slowly cannot be bothered to exercise. This very much implies to people who are suffering from an injury! When you succumb to an injury you have to rest but people take this ‘resting’ phase for granted and take advantage of it. Sooner than later they have rested far too long and they have in fact not improved on their injury and caused more issues! See told you this resting business is a pain!
Now remember that rest is essential but it’s about how much somebody needs. You need to be disciplined and need to listen to your body. If you’ve done a massive leg session and cannot feel your backside for 2 days after then naturally you’re not going to be doing weighted lunges and so you rest! However, you can still work on some other body part and then go back to lower body once you’ve recovered. The same applies to an injured area; yea sure at first you need to have bed rest depending on the severity but after some time if you feel that you can start moving your limbs then please do it! This doesn’t mean that you go to a cross fit session and have a work out but to do at least something at a low intensity to maintain and condition your joints and tissues. Lots of athletes over compensate meaning that they rest for the allocated time they need and then rest a bit more just to allow 100% recovery of muscles prior to their next session. This works out just fine for both your psychology and physiology as you are prepared for your work out. But don’t take advantage of this by resting far too long as this will just lead to time wastage and disorganisation of a training programme!
Rest is a vital component for all of us but we cannot take advantage of it! We need to be disciplined, need to listen to our bodies and stay organised to keep us on track. Without these co factors, our ability to calibrate rest times will be a tough challenge and this will consequently lead to diminishing health. So if you are sitting (resting) whilst reading this, I want you to think about how much rest you have actually had and think if it’s enough or too much and then .. do something about it!