Rest and recovery are just as important as exhausting workouts. And this idea is not just a popular trend, but information confirmed by research.
Doing yoga or lying in bed for a long time can seem like an unnecessary rest – instead of the workouts needed for the result. Like it’s more of an indulgence than a necessity – it’s nice to do it when you have free time.
But this is not true. Below is an infographic (by PrecisionNutrition) that will explain why rest and recovery should be at the top of your to-do list.
There Is a “Healthy” Amount of Stress
It can be amazing to live a few days completely stress-free.
But what after that? Without any challenges, difficulties, or obstacles, you will eventually get bored.
Of course, there is such a thing as too much stress. And besides the obvious ones, many people may not even be aware of the things which considered stress:
- the intensity with which you exercise,
- nutrition in a calorie deficit,
- the noise in the next room,
Let Rest and Recovery Come In
So how do you stay in that “harmonious state” in which you feel good?
This is where rest and recovery come in.
When you recover, you regain, restore, or make up for what you lost during stress. You return to the original state of well-being, health and performance.
For example, recovery may include:
- Replenishment of the fluid released with sweat during training, or the glucose that you have used up to feed the muscles.
- Restoration of the immune system after illness. And rest is definitely a key factor in this!
- Something intangible, for example, a feeling of moral recovery after a vacation.
Stress and recovery always go together, like Batman and Robin. Because recovery is part of the process that helps you get stronger, faster, better, and more resilient, as this chart shows.
Let’s take a closer look at the chart above, using intense training as an example of a stressor.
- Let’s start with homeostasis or the basic level. This is the status quo of your body. Then you are faced with a stressor that disrupts your homeostasis. In this case, it is an intense workout. Your breathing, heart rate, energy needs, and body temperature increase.
- Next comes the anxiety phase when you deal with the disturbance. During this phase, your performance temporarily deteriorates. This is the part where the barbell/dumbbell/your legs start to feel very heavy.
- You are now entering the recovery phase. As long as you replenish fluids and nutrients and don’t add extra stress that your body can’t handle, you’ll repair all of the damaged tissue over the next few days. During this process, you become stronger and more resilient.
- Finally, new homeostasis or baseline. Now you feel a little better than before.
What If I Skip Recovery
So if you have time to recover, you will adapt and get stronger. But what happens when you skip the recovery part and repeat the stress phase again? Nothing good.
Let’s take a dream as an example. Getting enough quality sleep:
- improves mood and ability to manage your emotions;
- boosts cognitive functioning of the brain, concentration, and attention;
- helps to lose fat and build new tissues, such as muscles and bones;
- regulates hunger, appetite, and satiety (which helps you make smart food choices: eat what your body needs and get rid of cravings for excess food);
- helps to cleanse the body and get rid of waste products.
Insufficient sleep greatly hinders recovery and can have far-reaching consequences, as you will see below.
Rest Without Feeling Guilty
The point? Not getting enough rest can make you feel really bad and make it much harder to see the results of your workouts. After all, it’s very difficult to make sensible food choices and work out when you’re irritated, tired, and stressed.
In addition, all these negative effects can overlap with each other and create vicious cycles. Here is just one example of how some of these factors reinforce each other:
Recovery is much more than sleep and rest.
There are dozens of ways to stimulate and improve your progress. In the table below you will find examples of stressors and ways to recover from each.
As you can see, each stressor has its own way of recovery. Recovery doesn’t have to be difficult. Making it part of your daily routine can be quite simple.
Think of the balance of stress and recovery as a reservoir that can be filled from the tap (recovery) and drained (stress) at the same time. To add more water to the tank, fix the leak by reducing tension and stress. If this is not possible, you can add a restore. Or do both: reduce stress while increasing rest and recovery.
When you think about it, many recovery methods give the maximum effect with relatively minimal effort. Of course, proper nutrition and sleep require some effort. But laughing at your favorite TV show, meeting up with friends, and hanging out in the sun counts as recovery too. So keep enjoying them without feeling guilty. Perhaps a rest day is exactly what you need for your next successful workout.
Had a good read? Want some more? Check out more pieces:
- Autophagy — Anti-Aging Remedy
- Healthy Stool in a Healthy Body – Why Care About It
- Antibiotic Prophylaxis: All You Need to Know
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