This week I wanted to touch on recovery which is often overlooked, but essential to this health and fitness journey. In this post I want to let you in on a couple of the best ways to recover properly and truly maximize the time that we spend in the gym and the kitchen!
When most of us think of exercise, sleep is one of the last things considered if at all! I mean, getting in shape is all about eating well and working your butt off in the gym right? If only things were that simple though...Getting the adequate amount of rest is key to performing at your best when exercising and recovering from it as well. Sleep is the time that your body uses for mending itself, reducing muscle soreness in the process, and preparing you for your next day. It is also an important time for your weight management because it acts as a 6-8 hour fast which you typically break the next morning, break-fast anyone? ;) The benefits of a good night's sleep extend to an improved mood, increased energy, less time to eat of out boredom, the list goes on and on.
Another underrated method of recovering from a tough session is stretching and warming up. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the gym and been in such a rush to dive right into the task at hand and get it over with that I completely neglect to stretch. Long story short...I've ended up paying for it at times. The best analogy we can use when we consider the importance of stretching and warming up properly is to compare our muscle fibers to elastic bands. So think about what happens when you continuously wind up a rubber band, over, and over, and over again...eventually it...POPS! Think of the last time you tried to wrap an old, unused rubber band around something...stretch it too far and...POP! Our muscles are very much the same way. Each minute and hour we spend doing physical activities from jogging right down to sitting or lying down is constantly winding those muscles up until that one day we bend over to pick something up too quickly and end up straining our back. This is the continuous winding of the band. Or we've missed a couple weeks or months out of the gym and hop right back in cold, ready to conquer the world and pull a muscle in our shoulder. This is the band that sat out too long and snapped when you tried to use it! The solution is to sacrifice the 5 to 10 minutes a day it takes to do static holds, foam roll, active warmups or do yoga. I can assure you those elastic bands that make up your muscular system will thank you!
I hope this gave a little more insight on how we can make the most of the time we spend in our sessions and on our diets! So in parting, don't get so caught up in the hard work that you forget to take a moment to relax!