The importance of resting your body is often overlooked in today’s busy lifestyles. It seems, as a society, we have promoted a culture of productivity, efficiency, and high energy lifestyles. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things, it’s essential that we don’t neglect rest. Having a well-rested body will keep your mind clear and focused. It will also keep your body feeling good and benefit your overall health. Figuring out how to balance rest with your everyday workload can be quite the challenge. We are here to help by offering up different ways of getting rest. Each of these methods can prove beneficial in your efforts toward routinely resting your body.
The most obvious way of resting your body is through sleep. As you sleep, your body is given the chance to heal and repair itself. It plays a big role in promoting a healthy heart, which lessens the chances of heart disease. Sleep can also be a valuable tool in managing your hunger. Sleep deprivation decreases your leptin (a hormone that makes you feel full) and increases your ghrelin (a hormone that makes you feel hungry). Studies suggest that the proper amount of sleep is 7-9 quality sleep hours per night.
Naps are closely related to sleep, but they play an important role for those who don’t get enough quality sleep. If you’re burning the wick on both ends, or are having nights of disrupted sleep, naps can help you compensate for lost hours of shut-eye. 20-30 minute naps have been shown to improve alertness and focus. Longer naps, however, may have an undesirable effect of feeling groggy afterward. While naps don’t make up for inadequate sleep, they can be beneficial in improving mood, alertness, and performance when you’ve had a not-so-great night’s sleep.
Another option for resting your body is through meditation. The practice of guided thought has been used for decades to reduce stress and improve concentration. Meditation has been shown to improve overall health, and it is very flexible, as it can be done nearly anywhere.
Resting with Exercise
The above topics discuss direct methods of resting your body. With routine exercise programs, rest during and after your workouts is a core component of a balanced routine. Giving your body time to recover between exercises and after a workout will help it replenish energy and aid muscle recovery.
The “best” amount of time to rest between sets, like most things with exercise, depends on the specific goal you’re training for. Generally speaking, you take longer rests if you are developing strength, and take shorter rests if you’re aiming to improve endurance.
Post-exercise rest can include stretching, taking a shower, using a sauna, performing a cool-down routine, receiving a massage, icing sore muscles, or simply relaxing. Resting your body post-workout, and taking days off, is physically necessary to give muscles time to repair, rebuild, and strengthen.