Never underestimate the power of rest

Up until about 3 years ago, I lived my life as fast and furious as I can handle with the moto, I can sleep when I am dead.

What a twat! How foolish can you be? The naivety of youth, or was it just sheer arrogance that I could keep going at a thousand miles an hour and expect to not break down at some point?

The 34-year-old me, that is today’s age, would love to go back to 21-year-old me and give her the biggest back hand bitch slap of all time and then lock her in the house so that she takes a break from the craziness that is life. Now I know you can’t stop the world from spinning and you make the choices you make to follow your career, have babies, buy a house, have holidays or what ever it is that drives you. But we, as humans, never rota in down time for ourselves to recover from the madness that is around us.

So, what is my point? We all take life very seriously and try to fit as much in to 24 hours as we possibly can, burning the candle at both ends and then crashing once or twice a year with an illness. This doesn’t have to be the case, we can break this vicious cycle if we pay attention to what our bodies tell us.

I REALLY SHOULD LEARN TO TAKE MY OWN ADVICE

Most of my time is spent coaching people, from all different walks of life and different fitness levels but there is a very common trend – they break if I do not take the necessary steps to make rest a priority. I have heard all the excuses under the sun and probably used them myself at one point or another. I am lucky enough to see most of my client’s multiple times in a week for a number of weeks at a time, so we get to know each other really well and I get to know their bodies and read the signs of fatigue. Yes, I know that to achieve goals we need to push boundaries and one of the principles of fitness is overload, but this comes at a huge cost if it is all you focus on. As a coach, I want to push your skill set, push your cardio output and lung capacity, challenge you at every opportunity but I have a duty of care to make sure that your body and mind are given time to heal.

Why? Well it’s simple really. Our bodies are, in their most basic form, a forever changing, growing living organism. We only have 1 and it is almost impossible to get spare parts if they break. We need to take care of what we have if we want to live well and give our children, grand children and great grandchildren grief for a long time.

Could you imagine having only 1 car your entire lifetime? No, of course not, that would be silly because parts get worn out, break, need to be replaced, or you may even be unfortunate enough to right it off, yet most people take more care of their cars than they do their own bodies. In essence, this is the most stupid thing that you can possibly do. I hold up my hands and say that I was very guilty of doing just this, but I learnt a very hard lesson and now I am reaping the benefits from taking a little more care and working smarter rather than harder.

I have committed at least one day a week to only dynamic stretches and slow mobility, I also include a selection in every work out that I do. And the results have been incredible. My body is much more responsive, building muscle has become easier, injuries have reduced, and my mind is much more focused on the skills I am trying to learn. I have also committed to going to bed at a decent hour, spending less time thinking things through in my head at night time – instead I do a brain dump into a little book I keep beside my bed and I am waking up feeling refreshed rather than tight and sore.

Now the definition of rest is different from person to person. Some consider it to be lounging around in bed sleeping all day, others consider it to be an active day, just with a much lower intensity than usual. Google defines rest as:

1: a bodily state characterised by minimal functional and metabolic activities.

2: freedom from activity or labour

3: a state of motionlessness or inactivity

4: peace of mind or spirit.

What ever your definition, it is important to schedule it in to your daily, weekly and monthly plans. As a coach, I try to include 1 session every 5 to 6 weeks that is much lower intensity and focuses and stretching and mobility. It is really important to have de-load sessions to allow your muscles, tendons, ligaments, heart and lungs time to recover. If you are smart about when you have your rest times, it will bring you to your goals quicker and hopefully take you further than you thought you could go without injury. But it also goes further than in training, it carries over into everyday life and helps your mind recover and refocus for the next tasks.

Why do you think employers have to make sure we have breaks in our day? This time should be spent away from your work station and should include an activity change. To me, this means doing something different to what you do while at work. So, if you sit at a desk, then your break should be spent doing other things like walking, stretching, moving. If you work in an office or inside, then get your butt outside to see the sky and breathe fresh air.

My challenge to all of you: Take 30 minutes a day to “rest”, one day a week to focus on a stretch/mobility session and one day a month to be completely at rest – literally do not move from your sofa. You will be surprised with the results and how you can handle life after wards.

If you would like to learn more about how to schedule more rest into your life please contact me to get an appointment booked in at you earliest convinence

amy@mgbfitness.com

Or take a look at some of the videos on my Freedom Therapy page on Facebook

LOTS OF LOVE

 

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