A week ago I tackled this topic from the perspective that a period of rest is foundational to one’s physical recovery from the exertion of exercise training. After mulling about this idea for the last few days, some additional perspectives came through and I want to further discuss ‘recovery’ from the perspective of our belief system. When I thought about the word ‘recovery’ I realized that the term usually infers to some sort of trauma or breakdown (in the body or in the psyche); that something has been lost or taken away. And in fact, when we exercise hard, there occurs micro-traumas to muscle tissue. The repair or recovery process of these tissues can only occur when we allow those muscles to rest. This happens when we sleep at night or when we take an active ‘recovery’ day of exercise which does not engage the previously worked muscles with intensity and force. Either way, whether we sleep or move restfully, we allow our body to do the work of muscle repair. What makes recovery hard work? Our belief system! If we think (believe) that a period of rest is going to take something away from us (strength, stamina, athleticism) or that we will be diminished or reduced in body or spirit, then we find it very difficult to allow ourselves adequate recovery time. It is what we BELIEVE about rest and recovery that makes recovery hard work. Our beliefs are powerful; they have the ability to hinder our recovery and our peace of mind. If you can change your beliefs about the value of your ‘recovery’ periods, then you can and should expect your periods of rest to rejuvenate you in body, mind and spirit.
It’ may look like I’m doing nothing, but at the cellular level I’m really quite busy. ~Roger Ramjet
After a lively day’s work, no one has to tell us at day’s end that we need to rest. But when we begin to grow stronger and fitter in our body because we’ve been adhering to a well planned exercise program, we sometimes forget that the most important part of our work out happens only when we rest. If in our zeal we don’t make adequate opportunities for recovery, then we will soon realize the negative effects of over training (i.e. moodiness, irritability, decrease in performance, lack of energy, tiredness, mild aches and pains, increased number of colds, etc.). If you’re noticing any of these symptoms then add some rest days to your exercise program. To make fitness gains, you must trust the process of each day’s work…and rest. Remember to pace yourself…take the long view on your health and fitness goals. Don’t be a jack rabbit because we know that ‘slow and steady’ wins the race.
There is power in small wins and slow gains. James Clear