THE IMPORTANCE OF REST!
The Importance of Rest!
It feels ironic to sit here and write about the importance of rest. I have a to do list the length of my arm, a desk full of marking to get through, lessons to plan, workouts to design……it just doesn’t end. But here we are and perhaps this month, it’s my reminder to myself how important rest actually is. We live in a society where overscheduling ourselves is the norm, and it often takes an illness or injury to remind us to slow down and take some rest.
I am definitely an advocate for staying active. In fact, I believe it is one of the most important things you can do for your body; however, your body is very intuitive and it will try to warn you when you just need some time out – quite often, we ignore the warning signs and continue on. If you want to sleep through your alarm or skip your workout, maybe your body is telling you that it needs a break.
It’s easy to say, but regular breaks are good for you. Having time to rest and reset between your workouts can be a critical part of progress. Skipping these rest days can lead to lots of stress on the body meaning you are more susceptible to illness, injury or overtraining.
Working out creates tears in your muscle tissues. It is during rest that our body repairs itself; tissues heal and grow. Obviously, this is a simplified version of what happens, but generally that’s how it works. Rest also means that your body has the opportunity to replenish energy stores to prepare you for your next workout. If you choose to sacrifice rest, this might actually stand in the way of progress, which is definitely not what you want. While exercise can definitely help you sleep, too much of a good thing can possibly impact your sleep which, again, is not doing you any favours when it comes to actual recovery. Workout sessions like HIIT can put your body under a lot of stress, and we need the rest and recovery to reduce that cortisol.
So, what should you actually do to recover? Does it just mean lying around on the couch for a day, doing nothing? Not necessarily. Resting doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice every physical activity. I know that I definitely need to move my body in some way every day for my mental health, but there are some ways to move without overdoing it.
Trying something like a quick yoga session; breath or mobility work could do wonders for your mind, your muscles and your stress levels. If you are anything like me, you’re constantly on the go so it’s a way to calm, aid muscle recovery and remind yourself to stop and smell the roses. There are many guided sessions on the internet that will assist you in getting a 10 to 15-minute session done.
We live on the Sunshine Coast – one of the most beautiful locations in the world. Go for a beach walk, take a light hike up one of our many mountains or swim in the glorious ocean. The feel of that sea water on your face will have you refreshed and reenergised in no time. You get your body moving and you help your mind by stepping out into nature.
Sometimes, your rest may just actually involve having a lie down and a relax. Maybe put your phone down and actually take the time to be with yourself and get away from the pressures of the world. Lighting some relaxing candles or diffusing some essential oils can help with that too. Scent is a major factor in relaxation. It’s important to have some quality sleep too so you can wake up well rested and ready to go for your next solid workout.
Giving yourself permission to rest and relax is important. For some of us, this is easy. For others, we feel lazy and unmotivated. Spare yourself the guilt trip and think about the good you are doing for your body and mind. Get out, enjoy that Sunny Coast sunshine and be kind to yourself.