Many people hit the gym five, six, or seven times during the week in an attempt to reach their fitness goals. Regular gym attendance is seen as vital for ensuring that they continue to make progress, bust through plateaus, and get the body that they want.

Unfortunately, too much activity can lead to injury, as any personal injury lawyer will attest. The body needs time to recover, build up again, and come back stronger. If it can’t do that, it will actually weaken in response to exercise, leading to a loss of both strength and muscle mass.

Most people aren’t aware of what is happening in their bodies when they go to the gym. When you hit the weights, you’re damaging your body’s tissues. The resistance causes small tears in the muscle fibers that your body must then heal after exercise.

These fibers, however, need time to recover after strenuous activity – often several days. It is during rest that the real magic happens. When you rest, you allow your body to recover from the damage you have dealt to it, letting it come back stronger and healthier.

It’s only by doing nothing that you can get a fabulous physique. If you continue to train day after day, your body will never recover. You won’t progress. You could end up feeling quite sick and listless.

If you’ve been injured, it is even more vital that you allow yourself to rest. Remember, it’s not just the injury itself that requires time to mend, but also the immune system too.

Here are some of the things that you should bear in mind if you are trying to rest adequately.

Prioritize Sleep

Thanks to modern working patterns and hectic schedules, many people go through their lives, getting by on a lack of sleep. The average person gets around six and a half hours, which is significantly less than the recommended 7 to 9.

Prioritizing sleep doesn’t just mean going to bed early. It also means ensuring that you prepare yourself for rest in the right way.

Take a look at some of these ideas:

  • Turn your phone off an hour before bed and don’t respond to any texts or emails
  • Do not look at screens for an hour before you go to bed
  • Do not eat late into the evening, as this can disturb your circadian rhythm, making you feel more awake

Wear blue-light-filtering glasses

Only use your bedrooms for sleeping to train yourself to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow

Reduce your salt intake as this can affect the quality of your sleep

Discover Which Foods Benefit You The Most

Food is an essential component of recovery. It’s what your body uses to create the new tissue that will let you adapt to your training regime.

People, however, react differently to food. Some people thrive on wheat, while for others, it can lead to cramping, pain, bloating, and autoimmune reactions. The same goes for dairy. Many people can survive perfectly well, drinking a carton of milk every day, while others suffer enormously.

The best recovery foods are those that pack your body full of the nutrients that it needs to build robust and lean tissue. Top of your priorities should be vegetables, beans, and whole grains. These will provide all of the inflammation-fighting compounds that your body needs to protect itself against exercise. They’re also high in energy that will enable you to pack on more lean muscle. Please don’t overdo it on the protein front: research is increasingly discovering that the vast majority of people can build muscle on well below one gram per kilo of bodyweight.

Use Ice Packs And Heat Therapy

Our bodies have specialized pathways in them that allow us to react to changes in hot and cold. Being cold and then switching to a warm environment, as in a sauna, can have profound health-promoting effects. Researchers think that it works by promoting the same longevity-enhancing cell signaling networks as regular exercise. Our bodies detect the extremes in temperature and then begin creating compounds that enable us to adapt to the changing circumstances.

Simply placing ice on muscle cools it down and sends signals that activate cellular survival circuits. Your cells literally start behaving as if they are younger, speeding recovery time.

Recovery, therefore, is both an art and a science. It is also the most crucial part of your regime. People who see the most significant benefits of exercise are those who allow themselves the indulgence of fully relaxing and recuperating. Will you try it?

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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