Rest and Recovery - Why you need it.
Most athletes know the importance of rest and recovery. Most include this in their fitness training schedule. It becomes routine and therefore they avoid the risks of overtraining. But there are a few out there who still don't understand the importance of R&R nor what to do in that time period and when they do rest they find themselves feeling unhappy, edgy, and often say...
"Rest and Recovery day is not for me." YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Rest and Recover or R&R IS for you. It is for everyone and here's why...
During this period your body begins to adapt to the stresses of exercise by repairing damaged tissue and replenishing energy stores (glycogen). Without recovery muscles continue to break down eventually leading to overtraining.
Active recovery means you allow your body to heal while still engaging in light activities. It does not mean "do nothing" at all. Light activities can range from Yoga to short light jog, swimming or biking, dancing or playing ball with the kids. This is also a time when you replenish fluids and optimize metabolism of protein which allows muscles to become stronger as they heal.
Long term recovery refers mainly to sleep. Disconnect at the end of the day and change your routine if you must but put sleep at the top of your long term recovery schedule. Sleep deprivation has been linked with decreased aerobic endurance and increased levels of cortisol. Then there are those mood changes and fatigue. Your body can only tolerate so much stress before it starts to break down. There is a balance to getting and/or staying in good physical health -- too much, too quick without recovery leads to injury, too little and you will see no results.
According to a number of fitness sources, here are the top 10 signs you are overtraining:
1. Decreased Performance: slower reaction time, reduced speeds and lower endurance levels
2. Agitation, moodiness, irritability or lack of concentration
3. Excessive fatigue (legs feel heavy)
4. Increased perceived effort during normal workouts (workout that was easy feels harder)
5. Chronic muscle aches and joint pain
6. Reduced immunity (getting sick more often)
7. Insomnia or restless sleep (inability to slow down and relax)
8. Loss of appetite
9. Chronically elevated heart rate at rest
10. Changes in menstrual cycle in women
Exercise is supposed to improve mood, give you a sense of accomplishment and leave you happy and glowing. If you don't ever feel good immediately after and in the hours that follow a good workout then you might already be experiencing the symptoms of overtraining.
Rate yourself... are you experiencing some of these symptoms? Let's talk about this and what you can do to avoid overtraining.