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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Are you resting the right way?

Image from Flickr, by Shlomi Fish
Rest is an important part of fitness.  There's no way to cut it, you need to rest.  After all, your body needs rest periods in order to repair the microscopic damage that results from the more aggressive parts of your training schedule.

The question is, are you resting the best way possible?

For most folks, rest is either sleep (a "right" way to rest) or bumming out on the couch (which isn't). 

Sleep, to start with, is something you absolutely need.  You need a lot of it.  There are some who believe that eight hours isn't really enough.  I'm inclined to err on the side of more sleep being the best.  Unfortunately, I don't get enough because of a one year old who loves to wake up at odd hours.

However, sleep is only a small part of the equation.

I type this sitting on the couch.  This is my work space, so I spend a lot of time here unfortunately.  However, this isn't the best for me.  Instead, rest is actually a relative term.  One thing I've had to do - and I'm still working on this - is to embrace the idea of "active rest".  Walking, cleaning your house, cooking dinner, even standing around all constitute "active rest".

After a hard training session, you're probably exhausted.  You want to sit and rest.  I get that.  However, milling about may help relieve muscle lactate better than just plopping on your butt.  This may reduce the "sore" feeling you can get after a hard training session.  It also seems to speed up recovery

If that was all, that would be enough.  However, studies also indicate that you also get a psychological factor as well.  Apparently, active rest after a hard training session helps the mind relax later.

Anyone can sit on their butt.  The truly awesome understand how to make the most of their resting.

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