Are you trying to lose weight, get stronger, improve athletic performance or just be the healthiest version of yourself possible? Well here are some reasons why rest days, relaxation, and sleep are critical to achieving your fitness goals.
Rest Is Fundamental To Muscle Growth
Taking a rest day from your workout routine every seven to ten days at least is critical to repair the muscle tissue tears caused by working out. It prevents overworking your body or burning out. It also prevents muscle fatigue by allowing your body to replenish the glycogen levels which fuel the muscles.
It is considered better to do active rest rather than total inactivity on these days, however, unless you are injured. An active rest day is one where you do low-intensity workouts like walking, yoga or swimming.
You have many options, like signing up for classes, exploring your neighborhood by walking, or you could invest in a home pool for easy access to water. There are many swimming pool financing companies that make it easy and affordable to do so.
There are many benefits, including increased muscle flexibility, reduced soreness, increased blood flow, reduced lactic acid buildup and the elimination of toxins.
It also eliminates blood lactate, which accumulates in the body from intense exercise. Having too much can cause muscle fatigue and contraction. You could even experience lactic acidosis, a temporary condition that can cause weakness, cramps, nausea, and stomach pain.
Sleep Improves Your Performance
In addition to taking rest days every week or so, you should also strive to get seven to ten hours of sleep every night. And if you get poor sleep for whatever reason, take a nap to prevent it from negatively impacting your body.
During sleep, your body gets a chance to restore the muscles, heart, tissues and cells. Getting good sleep has been shown to reduce the likelihood of injury, infection and disease. It also increases focus, cognitive function and reaction time. And if you are learning a new skill like a sport, sleep is critical to retaining memories.
In one study, varsity tennis players improved their serving accuracy by around 40 percent after sleeping nine hours per night. In another, swimmers who slept ten hours showed improvements in diving, turning, and kick stroke speed, as well as better sprint times. They also reported an increase in their mood and reduced fatigue.
If you are a competitor, getting more sleep might be just what you need to get an edge on the opponent. Accuracy, reaction time, decision-making, and mental acuity are all affected by sleep quality.
If you want to start getting better sleep, it's critical that you develop a routine. Going to bed at different times throughout the week will wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm, which is the body's internal clock that is responsible for making you tired as well as for keeping you alert throughout the day.
Avoid looking at screens at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Doing so can impact your ability to create melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep. This is because the circadian rhythm that controls sleep patterns is directly impacted by light.
Also, be aware of the different things that can negatively impact sleep quality. Caffeine, alcohol, stress and anxiety can all lead to poor sleep. If you consider sleep medication, do so with caution, because it can cause daytime drowsiness and lower performance levels.
Resting Improves Mental Health
Nearly all of us experience stress and anxiety at some point in our lives. As an athlete, this can look like performance anxiety. Or you could be anxious about school, work or your personal life. Whatever the case may be, this mental health block can impact not only your athletic performance but your entire quality of life.
Putting too much pressure on yourself can lead to physical and mental burnout. Burning yourself out and being stressed and anxious can lead to tense muscles, poor reactions times, and worse coordination. This can also lead to lower self-esteem, meaning you will have less confidence in your abilities, which can also decrease your performance.
Of course, if you experience anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue that is impacting your life in a negative way, regardless of whether it's related to your sport or fitness life or not, you should seek help from a professional.
However, it is important to know that proper sleep, as well as giving yourself time to rest and doing deep relaxation techniques have all been linked to increased mood. So if you don't experience any mental health problems, doing these things can help you prevent that from happening in the first place.
Deep Relaxation Improves Overall Health
Meditation is the practice of silencing thoughts, often through sitting still and breathing deeply. It is a way to deeply relax the body and mind and can reduce incessant thoughts which can trigger stress and anxiety, or simply decrease our ability to focus.
It is an ancient practice going back thousands of years. And in recent times, there has been a lot of research into the benefits. This practice can benefit anyone, especially those looking to get healthy and fit. But it will not just benefit your physical body, but your brain as well.
A regular meditation practice of at least ten minutes each day has been linked to decreased levels of stress and anxiety, better sleep quality, and decreased blood pressure. This can be very helpful for those looking to get fit or improve sports performance, especially if you are looking for a way to improve sleep quality.
As stated before, anxiety can interfere with your fitness goals on multiple levels, so if you suffer from this or any other mental health issue, meditation can be a great way to alleviate some of your symptoms. Along with deep breathing, meditation can allow you to relax and step outside of your thoughts. If you suffer from anxiety, it may seem like your thoughts are incessant. This can allow you to break out of that.
Meditation is also linked to greater attention span and focus. This can lend itself well to competitive sports, training, and improving skills of all kinds. It also increases self-awareness, which can help you understand your own strengths and weaknesses in and out of the gym.
The overall benefits of meditation can lead to a better mind and body, which can help you increase your motivation, energy, stamina, and self-esteem. It can help you be the best version of yourself. It can also lead to better teamwork because it can improve your mood and emotional awareness.
Not only does a healthy physical physique improve the mind, but talking out your anxieties with a professional can help promote emotional wellness improving sleep quality even further.
Your family physician or obstetrician asks at your yearly check-up if you have any recurring issues with sleep, anxiety, or depression so open up. Be honest. If they feel you need additional help, they can provide a therapist or sleep clinic to get to the root of the issue. IF exercise is already part of your routine and you still are not getting adequate sleep, visiting your physician is your first step.
For a comprehensive analysis, you will need to schedule a sleep study with your local sleep clinic, such as Alaska Sleep Clinic. Our experts can provide a fully comprehensive evaluation of your sleep troubles and prescribe the best treatment for your dilemmas. If you live in the Alaska area, then be sure to give our experts a call for a free evaluation.