Rest days are underrated, sometimes seen as being ‘lazy’, or overlooked entirely. Sacrificing rest to appear ‘committed’ to something is an age-old travesty. The truth is that rest and recovery is vital to all aspects of being healthy and any good personal trainer will tell you that it should be as high on your priority list as good nutrition and exercise. In fact, we have an excellent trio of recovery activities that will aid in giving your body plenty of chance to repair and grow after a good workout session.
No surprise here that sleep is king when it comes to r&r. A good sleep has a plethora of benefits, such as strengthening our immune system, invigoration, boosting our metabolism and ensuring our blood sugars and pressure levels are optimal.
A good sleep will assist in muscular recovery and release human growth hormone, but often times it’s easier said than done to get good rest. Investing in a comfortable bed and mattress, cutting down on caffeine in the afternoon, keeping a good sleep routine (this also means not snoozing your alarm!) and a bedroom at the right temperature will all help in ensuring you have a good night’s sleep.
Stretching should be treated as a vital part of any workout schedule. Too often people cast stretches aside or put them at the bottom of their priority list, but even just a few minutes of stretching pre-and-post workout will help recovery tremendously.
Stretching helps to evenly condition your muscle balance, minimise DOMS and expand your range of motion and flexibility. Especially as you age, it’s important to continue to train your muscles to be as supple and flexible as possible with regular stretching. Even on your rest and recovering days, a few minutes stretching will work wonders and won’t sap the energy out of you.
- Sports Massage
It may seem like a bit of a luxury, but sports massages are one of the most used recovery methods by top athletes. It’s a fantastic way to boost recovery and physical conditioning. We’re not talking about a standard “cosmetic” type massage you’ll get at a spa – a correct sports massage is intense, focused and aimed at stimulating musculoskeletal and nervous systems and applied by qualified professionals. A sports massage will help to soften hard muscle tissues, correct imbalances and release tension around the muscle sheaths. This in turn aids blood flow and will cut down on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. After a good, thorough sports massage, you’ll be left feeling relaxed, rest more effectively or take on your next fitness challenge with efficiency!