I cannot say it enough, rest, is important. Rest is where the magic really happens. Rest is where our body does the work. Rest is our regulator, our memory, maker, and our mood modulator. Rest is where we grow and rest is not optional.
When we are talking about rest in relation to exercise there are a few things that may or may not pop up in your mind. For one thing we rest between intervals, sets, exercises. This allows us to catch our breath, our blood to flow without quite so much constriction, our waste to be removed from the working muscles, etc.
Then there are our rest days. These are the days when we take a load off and hang out. The day we don't go for our morning run or meet our bestie for HOT HIIT (Yes, that is a thing, as if High Intensity Intervals weren't enough already, now you can do them in the comfort of a hot studio. Needless to say I'm very interested to try it!). Rest days are in place to allow your body and mind to heal. Heal? Yes, heal. Because when we workout we are creating tiny little microfractures and micro-tears to our bone and muscle. No, there's no need to be alarmed, it's just the way the system works and when we give our bodies proper fuel and rest it heals even stronger than it was before. It's really pretty cool!
Rest, specifically sleep, is also incredibly important. When we sleep our bodies are literally put on the charger and all the ins and outs of our every system are restocked and restored. Trying to lose weight? Well, you had better get your sleep because that's the time when the hormone Leptin is produced and Leptin my friends is responsible for regulating hunger and therefore, how much we eat. I don't know about you but when I am over tired I could eat a house and Leptin isn't alone, there are a whole bunch of other proteins and hormones that all work together to manage how our bodies respond to food, exercise, etc. If you'd like to read a brainy article about Leptin: here you go!
Now, we have an honorable mention, mood. When we are not well rested we are more likely to be a bit more moody than usual. This can throw off our desire to stick to our plans, be pleasant to our fellow exercisers, and cause fights in the family. I've personally sabotaged more than a few workout sessions with my sleep deprived bad mood picking fights with my husband. So, don't skip rest days and don't skip sleep! Currently I'm reading about some really interesting findings on how lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to certain disease states and it's no joke!
How can we help you rest today? Well, here are a few of my go-tos:
-Diffuse Lavender, Serenity, or Petitgrain Essential Oils
-Eat a well balanced diet during the day with lots of fresh water
-Exercise! Of course ;-)
-Meditation, Prayer, Sacred Quiet Time. Here's a nice piece on WHY Meditation works.
-Want some ideas as to what to do on your rest days to help prepare you for your next workout? Here are 9, but I bet you can come up with some pretty fantastic ones of your own, do share in the comments!
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I am an Exercise Physiologist and mother of two lovely ladies. I love teaching my community about health and wellness and I love helping likeminded people implement natural solutions into their everyday lives.