Although we all desire quick results, gaining strength and fitness is not just about working hard. A successful fitness program should include your rest days and active recovery day. Although it may seem that resting will not help you lose weight, gain strength, or increase speed, taking time off from your workouts allows your body to adapt and recover. These are especially important if high-intensity training such as HIIT or circuit training or heavyweight training is part of your daily routine.
You lose energy and your muscles and tissues become damaged when you exercise. Your body can become irritable, have a reduced immune system, mood swings, muscle soreness, or lose strength and performance. Your body will be at risk if you take a break from your workouts.
Below are my top tips to ensure that you get enough rest and recovery during your exercise routine. It’s not always about doing nothing, you might be surprised to learn that many of these solutions still include low-intensity exercise, movement, and other self-care practices designed to provide the body with what it needs.
How Many Times Should You Rest?
One day of rest is recommended. Light activities such as stretching, foam rolling, or walking the dog are all fine. We want to ensure that our heart rate is low and we don’t tax any of the muscles on rest days. Rest days allow tired muscles and overworked bodies to rest and recover.
Additionally, I recommend that you do at least one day of active recovery per week. For those who are more experienced, one active recovery day may be sufficient, but for the majority of people, two days of active rehabilitation is ideal. Total rest is not active recovery. Active recovery is slightly different. Active recovery days are when you move at a lower intensity but still maintain your movement. You might choose to do yoga or active stretching, go outside and play a sport or engage in steady-state cardio such as walking, running, cycling, jogging, boxing or swimming on these days. It’s best to avoid high-impact activities. For example, riding a bike or going to the pool to swim can reduce stress on your joints and allow you to get some movement.
Self-Care Tips for Recovery
There are several types of stretching that you can use to improve your fitness routine. Dynamic stretching is the first. Dynamic stretching allows you to move through a range of motion. It requires mobility or voluntary movement of muscles to complete the motion. These are likely to be something you have seen in practice or even done yourself. However, the name may not be familiar. You may have seen them in practice, or even done them yourself. These dynamic stretches are good to do before you start any activity. They prepare your muscles for movement and reduce the risk of injury. Static stretching, on the other side, is directly related to flexibility. It simply measures the length of a single muscle. Static stretching, which is extremely common, refers to any stretch you hold for a certain amount of time. It is important to strengthen your muscles after exercise. Tight muscles can affect how your body moves and cause you to exercise more often. Start static stretching by holding a stretch for 30 seconds. After that, take a break and then repeat the process three times.
2. Foam rolling
Foam rolling can be used to practice Self Myofascial Release (or SMR). You don’t need a foam roller to complete SMR. However, you can use a round object such as a tennis ball or lacrosse ball with a trigger point ball or massage stick. SMR can be described as a massage for yourself. It involves the application of pressure to loosen tight areas. Roll on a tight muscle to properly foam roll. The goal is to find any tight spots. After you have found the tight spot, you can hover over it for 30 to 90 seconds until you feel some pressure relief.
3. Drinking water
It is vital to hydrate before and after exercising in order for your body to feel its best. In the summer heat, sweat can cause fluid loss. Hydrate with at least 8 cups of water per day. If you can, drink a cup of water every 15-20 minutes of exercise. Drink more water before and afterward your workout to ensure your body and mind are well hydrated.
4. Healthy eating
To perform well in your workouts and to make the necessary physical changes, your body depends on the nutrients you consume. If your diet is poor, you risk your body not being able to perform well during your workouts. Your muscles will be less likely to recover and become stronger. You may have different fitness goals than the guy next to you, but the content of your diet matters.
Your diet should include lean protein such as poultry and fish, dark green leafy vegetables, healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil, whole grains rich in fiber, and a variety of fruits, veggies, legumes, and other foods. You will feel fuller and more satisfied throughout the day, and you’ll be able to give your best to your workouts by consuming healthy nutrients.
These tips and suggestions for including recovery and rest in your training program are my hope! Remember that you need to rest both mentally and physically.
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