Some Days You Just Have to Rest with Your Feet Up!
Do you ever get the feeling when you have been exercising you little heart out, that you feel like your getting bigger and not smaller?
Do you sometimes get the feeling that your are losing your cardiovascular fitness level and your strength all at the same time?
If you are feeling like this, or have felt like this in the past, it could be because you need to have a rest day. A complete day off from exercising to allow the body and the mind to recover.
Rest days are very important for the following reasons:
- Muscles need to rest to be able to recover and grow. When you are weight training you are actually doing little micro tears to your muscles. That is why you get sore after a heavy weight training session, your muscles have been worked and torn. Resting, allows the muscles used at training to heal and to repair themselves.
- Rest is one of the best tools for injury prevention. Injury often occurs when you are tired because muscles especially your stabilising muscles are not activating correctly when fatigued. You are then performing movements unbalanced and incorrectly. Taking a day off to allow the body to recover and rest will reduce your risk of injury. Resting the brain for a day will help this as well. Quite often when you are mentally fatigued and mentally exhausted you will not perform movements correctly either.
- Over-training could also be the reason you are not sleeping and recovery well enough. Over- training can leave you feeling unfit and fluidly (you know when your body feels like a blown up balloon) believe me you are not! You just feel like it because your body is using everything its got to get you through training you are not leaving you much left to function as a human. Having a complete rest day from training will have you feeling ready to go again. Tell your mind and brain in this instance that having a rest day will not ruin your training or your fitness level. The rest day will actually result in the complete opposite and you will be back firing at training in no time.
How do I like to rest?
- I like to rest with my feet up the wall. It is a yoga position. It allows the body and mind to relax, relieving stress and tension. I often lay with my legs up the wall as it soothes my legs and aids in venous drainage (fluid build up form being on your feet all day). The position also stretches my hamstrings and releases tension in my lower back. It is very relaxing but you might look a little weird to others, unless you tell them what you are actually doing.
- Sleep! Yes I love to sleep and I was taught at a very young age from my Granddad to have a midday siesta. Now I don’t get to do this often, as I work. But on some weekends I will no doubt have siesta in the middle of the day and guess what I love it. It is therapeutic for your mind and concentration and great for the body to rest in the middle of the day giving you more energy for the afternoon and evening.
- My other favourite way to rest, is a movie in bed. I am very partial to watching a feel good movie, relaxing and not doing much at all. Getting cosy in bed and watching a feel good movie has both physical and mental benefits for me. A feel good movie makes my brain think less and laying down means that my body rests completely, bonus!
So remember rest days are important! And if you are anything like me (rushing around like the crazy Mother that I am) you will need one. Rest and Recovery your mind and body so that you can continue to function to your potential both in exercise and in life. You don’t have to schedule it in on a weekly basis (I don’t) but when you are starting to feel tired and feel like you are not getting results, give yourself a rest day. It is so beneficial for the body!