Rest Days are Important

Happy Friday to you all!! It’s a perfect day here in Austin, and the weather is only supposed to get better. In town this weekend is the celebration for Earth Day and a race down by Town Lake. There’s always something going on in town making it ever so hard to convince yourself to stay home, right?

Wrong! After a long week of working out, eating healthy, stressing at your job, telling your kids to brush their teeth 20 times, all you want to do is CRASH on the couch with a good drink and either TV or an awesome book. But what did you do to actually “rest” this week? Did you take a day off from heavy lifting? Did you walk instead of run one day this week? Did you bother to stretch? Ah, see, caught you! Rest is part of my routine each week! It’s vital for our bodies to experience a day or a week or even a month of allowing the reset to happen.

Last year I tore a muscle in my abdomen/psoas area. I went to physical therapy, ART therapy and did not lift anything over a few pounds. I was told to take some serious time off and think about my next fitness journey. My thoughts were, ‘You’re kidding me right? You’re telling me to take TIME OFF FROM LIFTING? Are you insane? What can I do? Yoga? What is yoga?! That won’t help me one bit!’ Haha yes it’s true, I had no idea how to rest, recover or allow myself to take time to let my body heal. Luckily though, I found yoga and walking extremely relaxing and beneficial as part of my year off.

I made it a habit to join a yoga studio while still going to see specialists. I met with Jake Norman who specializes in Active Release Technique (ART) who provided me with breathing exercises and stretches before I even set foot back into a weight room. Yes people, A FULL YEAR I was on the sidelines, but I’m stronger now. I am stronger by choice and listened to my mind, body and my spirit to not re-injure myself.

Please do yourself a favor, and listen to your body! Recovery, active recovery, is important for those who are constantly active. Here are ways why active recovery benefits you:

1. Your heart rate will lower: If you decide to exercise and actively recover afterwards by walking or dynamically or statically stretching, chances are your body will return to its normal state. Your muscles will thank you during your next workout!

2. Work on improving your form: As a power lifter, there will always be minor tweaks on how to position myself under a bar before a deadlift or a bench press. Learning the basics is 150% key before jumping into a class or a gym with free weights.

3. Take the day off: The benefit of a gym is that you can socialize with people you want to be around, and that in itself is an added bonus to health and wellness. But what about walking with your spouse, the dog or even the kids to the park? One day away from the weights won’t hurt you in the long run but help your performance later down the road.

4. Go lighter on your normal heavy sets: Check your egos at the door, friends! When you are coming back from surgery, injury, a trip overseas or vacation, you cannot expect the body to just start right where you left off with those 85 pound dumbbells for your overhead press. Get real! It is OK to go lighter if you missed a few days or weeks. Most likely your body was put through other stressors while you were away, so give it a break and be kind.

5. Hydration, hydration, hydration: Stay committed even on active recovery days to be hydrated with water from the moment you wake until bedtime. It’s a habit that has major benefits down the line!

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me at bmappfitness@gmail.com.

Xoxo B

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