As an exercise physiologist and personal trainer for the last 33 years, I’ve spent a lot of time educating people on the importance of moving every day. Not today, however.
Today’s “I-MOVE” topic, “YOU DESERVE A REST TODAY!” is for those of us who have trouble turning the “more is better” switch to the OFF position. It’s for those of us who are constantly running from place to place; be it fighting traffic on the daily commute to and from work, shuttling kids to and from school then to this practice or that lesson, fitting in the food shopping and cooking and, let’s not forget we have a house to run and care for. Regular exercise is important for overall health and wellness, but so is rest.
For many of us in our fast paced world of do more each day, rest is often regarded as a four letter word. Rest, however, is vital to our overall health and essential to maximizing the positive impacts of an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Rest equals recovery. There are a few ways to rest that will help your body recover not only from a rigorous workout but from the rigors of our daily hustle and bustle world.
The first and biggest component to the rest and recovery formula is sleep.
- Adequate sleep allows the body to regenerate both mentally and physically, from the days activities.
- Adequate sleep helps the body to regulate hormones important for growth and appetite.
- Regular adequate quality sleep helps to
- boost your immune system
- improve your memory
- restore and energize you
- stimulate creativity
- manage bodyweight
- keep you mentally and emotionally fit
- increase your pain threshold
Sleep, while a big part, is still just a part of the whole rest and recovery equation. We must also learn to rest when our eyes are open. Relaxation is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. In today’s fast paced life we often find ourselves with little or no time to unwind. A little “me-time” is as important to your health as diet and exercise. Adding in even a few minutes a day to get away from life’s demands can go a long way toward recharging your battery and reducing your overall stress level.
- stress has real and lasting negative consequences to health, including:
- the inability to focus
- chest pain
- digestive problems
- ways to relieve and/or avoid the buildup of stress include such things as:
- deep breathing
- turn off all electronics for 15-30 minutes per day and do something you enjoy like:
- read a magazine or book
- sit quietly with a cup of tea
- listen to soothing music
- take a nap
- get a massage
- get a manicure/pedicure
- get a hug
- pet your dog
- while simple, this practice of finding even a few minutes of time daily to relax will go a long way to reducing the release of your “stress” hormone, cortisol, and increasing the release of your “relax” hormone serotonin.
The take home message; rest and recovery, like regular exercise and healthy eating, are important contributors to a healthy lifestyle.