The importance of rest and recovery

In today’s modern world, we are surrounded by high technology everywhere we go. This is perhaps the reason why we are no longer so alert and sensitive to the signals and the feedback from our own bodies, as we used to be in “ancient” times.

From the nature, built up through hundreds of thousands of years, our body has a unique and intelligent way of giving us messages about our physical condition, in particular if something is wrong, or on it’s way to become wrong. However, it seems like some of the ability to sense and interprete such signals have been weakened. It also seems as if people in civilations we look upon as being primitive in relation to the modern world, are those who are good at interpreting natural signals both from bodies and from the nature. So, perhaps it is the “modern” human being who is primitive in this respect.

I have previously written some articles about “training intelligence”, where interpretation of the feedback from the body under heavy load, tells you if you understand what you are actually doing. Maybe we also should start to talk about the term “restitution intelligence”, meaning the ability to interprete the body’s signals during the recovery phase.

I have also previously said that both phases, the recovery/resting phase (anabolic phase) is just as important as the training/load phase (catabolic phase). At the time I myself understood this and got “restitution intelligence”, I quickly achieved improved results. So, please remember that if you are willing to train hard and do more than you body can receive, the results of the training may not come until you become better to rest and recover.

What is it we should monitor and take more care of?

  1. Sleep: If you have problems to fall asleep after training, it might be that the session was too hard, and/or that it was too late in the evening. This feels like tension and restlessness, giving too much activity in the body to get sleep and relaxation.  If you have general problems about sleeping, many factors can be the reason. One of them can be anxiety. If this is related to performance to achive results, it may cause stress reactions. The high level of tension caused by this burns an unnecessary amount of energy. Then you can get into a bad circle. I myself used different techniques for relaxation, including “autogenic training”.  This made me relax better and even replaced missing sleep in the periods when I had small children.
  2. Dehydration:  If it is too yellow when you have been to the toilet, you have not been drinking enough. This may result in headache and an unpleasant general condition. Water is the best you can drink. If you are training a lot, it can also be useful to consume some extra minerals to replace what you loose when sweating.
  3. Resting pulse: Be aware of and monitor your resting pulse. Then it would be beneficial to do this on a regular basis, when and how to do it, so that comparing from time to time will be reliable. The measure the morning pulse before you get out of the bed up and start the activities for the day, is recommended. Some variation is normal, but if it becomes too big (5-10 strokes/minute), something is going on in your body. It may be a sickness and it may be lack of rest, or that the body cannot take the high amounts of training anymore. Then it is time for reducing the intensity and amount of training. There are a number of free apps and cheap apps you can download to assist you in measuring and analysing the pulse.
  4. General condition: If you are irritable and in a rather bad mood, this may also be a signal that you maybe should do something relaxing like going to cinema or something else, rather than the planned training session. This is very often a result of lack of surplus of energy. It is useful if you have somebody around you that can give you feedback on these things. It is not always that you think about and detect your own state if it is like mentioned. Do also consider the total load on yourself. In addition to training, the family situation, friends, work, studies, and other things may quickly overload you, unless you manage it properly. This is where the big challenge is; it has to yourself who manage the amount and intensity of training, not your training plans and program. It sounds strange, but this is not so easy as it sounds. Many are scared to rest because they think they lose so much. This is actually a mental shortcut of the logic. The sense of guilt takes over, and it is often destructive. You will win a lot by having a body that gives you feedback, and that you actually listen to the signals, to make sure that you have sufficient rest and recovery.

Source: Ā«Sprek hele livetĀ», written by Ingrid and Arve Kristiansen

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