R is for rest and recovery……

Picture of Tonga, visited October 2010.
 
rest n.
1. Cessation of work, exertion, or activity.
2. Peace, ease, or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity.
3. Sleep or quiet relaxation.

re·cov·er·y

1. A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength

Homeostasis is a state of balance in the body.

I remember once a doctor telling me to rest when I went for my yearly check-up, as I was nodding away saying yes yes, he said, “do I need to remind you what rest is”… silly man.  I know what rest is, I just am getting around to fitting it in to my weekly schedule inbetween classes, weights, social life, work………. (interesting the order those came out in…)

I have finally found trust in that little voice that tells me to “rest, recover, relax”… that an evening on the couch with a cup of tea and a magazine is a great way to unwind after a few days or a week of solid training and it is actually increasing the rate at which my body adapts to the training sessions completed….   Now don’t get me wrong, I can be a great sloth from time to time, just ask my family who know I love a good nap!  I love an afternoon on the couch with DVD’s , coffee with a friend or a good book but I do enjoy it a lot better if I have achieved something first whether it be a class, walk, swim or some sort of physical activity (ie cleaning the house, this is a PG rated blog)!

Working out when YOU need to rest and recover comes with a little trial and error.  Understanding that rest is just as important, if not more important than the actual training you are undertaking is the key.    I know that I have returned to training to early after an illness or injury and it hasn’t gone well (vague memories of passing out on the footpath in Bondi Junction a couple years ago).  Being disciplined and going to the gym is one thing, but controlling the urge to overtrain can be a big hurdle to jump.

I plan my rest days, I book in massages  at least 3-4 weeks in advance, pre-empting my training schedule and also fun runs et I have planned.  This gives me something to work towards and strive for knowing that there is a happy ending so to speak… (oh dear, flashbacks of Vietnam & Thailand)! 

A good  remedial massage or a nice reiki session to centre my body and mind (homeostasis).  Sometimes I find active recovery is all I need on a weekly basis to bring the body back into a restful state – a swim, bodybalance class or a walk does wonders for the mind and body.

Many years ago I used to believe that meditation was for monks or hippies trying to chillax… I thought lying down for 55mins in a community centre hall would be an expensive nap & what would I get out of it?  Since then I have had many opportunities to attend relaxation classes all around the world.  Meditation is a big part of my life now, I always find at least 10-15mins a couple times a week to light a nice candle or some oils and just concentrate on my breathing and clearing my mind of any busy thoughts.

Planning rest days is just as important as planning your exercise days, ensure you put time in for YOU, dosen’t have to be hours and hours.. just enough time to switch off, recharge and re-focus, preferably without the TV, radio or internet. 

My favourite place to go and unwind is the Buddha Bar in Newtown.  They have a great team of therapists ready to assist you with unwinding, relaxing and getting your body and mind connected.   I highly recommend Kim’s Massage of the Soul – a mixture of aromatherapy & reiki, it is divine.

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