When I demand that my clients incorporate rest into their intense workout schedule, I’m always met by googly eyes and a surprised “You want me to do nothing?!” But it’s a matter of fact that no workout plan works to its fullest potential if you don’t rest properly.
As with everything else in life, there are huge benefits to finding the right balance between active exercise and recovery. During the rest and recovery time (which of course includes enough hours of sleep every night), cells heal, your body re-boots and energy stores replenish. That’s why it is extremely important to let the body heal for one or even two days per week so you can reap the benefits of all your hard work. And if you are on a plan that has you working out almost every day of the week, that’s never going to happen!
On a mental level, it can be very challenging for many of us — especially us multi-taskers — to give ourselves permission to take a break. Many of us have to learn how to slow down. In fact, you may even have to plan to do absolutely nothing.
A cornerstone in training and recovery is breathing. Studies say that breath work has the power to influence and even reprogram the nervous system. Breathing can help with everything from increasing energy, lowering blood pressure, improving circulation and beating anxiety disorders without the use of drugs, and those are only a few of the important benefits. It’s common knowledge even in the Western world that the art of yoga, with it’s attendant breath work, has healing powers, but I dare to say that whoever you are and whatever type of exercise you practice, you can incorporate your own style of breath work into your daily life.
Week 7 assignment: Rest, relax and breathe
This week I would like you to challenge yourself with scheduling some time for breathing and relaxing. But you can still move, even during recovery periods! Recovery exercise can include yoga, stretching your muscles, or using the foam roller to do some myofascial release while breathing deeply. Or you can take a walk in the woods. Sit down in nature and inhale the scents of whatever that is which is around you. My rest and relaxation in the big city is taking a bath, doing some deep breathing or — my favorite — doing some Tai Chi just to slooooow down…
Let me know how it goes and Live Life Loud!
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