Today’s post has been prepared by Piotr Piaskowski – a physiotherapist at Healthy Center by Ann.
You love sport. Your targets or competitions are the things that get You out of bed at 6am and train every day with the prospect of a long, hard working day ahead. Physical activity is Your everyday motivator that boosts Your energy and remains in unbreakable synergy with You: the harder You exercise the more endorphins and power You get in return.
The only thing You are sometimes afraid of is that one day a temporary injury or a form slump might defeat You. How to prevent it? Ironically, the simplest way is to rest. However, what seems to be the easiest is the most neglected aspect in an athlete’s routine: a proper, efficient body regeneration which is the key to Your success in sport.
Why is rest so difficult for You?
Nowadays, regeneration is often mistaken for laziness. Be it work or training, everyone wants to achieve more, faster and harder. You have no time or will for a rest because Your conscience keeps telling You that if You don’t accomplish 150% of Your planned results, You will not achieve Your goals. Someone else will surely do it better. You often think that even when You’re physically exhausted, You must train because this will help You get back into shape with double the impact. You couldn’t be more wrong.
Your body is a tremendously clever structure. It frequently gives You some hints when You can put it through the hoops and when You should let it relax. You just need to start reading the signs properly. Sleepiness, permanent fatigue during the day, loss of energy and motivation to act, worse sports results despite harder workouts, or long-lasting irritation. All these may be a result of exhaustion and a lack of proper regeneration.
The golden rules of regeneration.
You know very well that everyone is different. Some people like Italian pizza, others prefer Spanish tapas or Polish zurek. It is just the same with methods of regeneration: there is no single best one for all. The way people rest is a very individual issue but there are some main rules worth following while planning Your post workout recharging of batteries:
- If You are not a professional athlete, then for every 4 workout days You should have at least one regeneration day (4/1). The optimum and healthiest cycle for You is 3/1 option.
- Don’t ever plan two hard workout days in a row.
- If You feel that Your body is in need of a rest, break Your training plan and let it take some time to relax. It will repay with double the energy on Your next workout day.
- Remember that regeneration also includes mental relaxation. On Your free days with no workout take care not only of Your body but also Your soul, eg. by meditating.
- Remember that regeneration does not have to be passive, try light physical activity or a wellness-based rejuvenation therapy that You enjoy.
- Recharging Your batteries is inextricably linked with providing the right nutrients. On no-workout days You should take more care of Your diet and hydration.
- The amount and quality of sleep are key elements in regeneration. Try to sleep regularly, at least 7 hours a day and Your body will repay You with more energy.
The best regeneration for You.
When speaking of relaxation, the first thought for most of us is a comfy sofa and the remote in our hand. It is of course one of many possibilities of spending a day with no workouts. But is it the best for You? Remember that regeneration doesn’t have to be 100% passive. If You feel than on Your free day You are wasting Your time that could be spent doing exercises, try to use the opportunities of an active rest.
Calm swimming, light yoga, a session in jacuzzi or a longer walk in a forest can be just as much (or even more) effective as blissful loafing in front of the TV. The most important rule of active regeneration is to make it different from the sport You do on an everyday basis. You should enjoy it and Your body shouldn’t get too tired. It should be performed at oxygen conditions (not exceeding high heart rate) and engage big muscle groups, preferably different than the ones You use in Your everyday activity. Keep in mind that some wellness procedures, commonly considered to be methods of regeneration (e.g. sauna) are in fact a method of training and should not be used on Your rest days.
What does Your regeneration look like?
Now that You know what proper regeneration between workouts should look like, it’s time to check Your sports timetable. Remember to make room for a day off devoted to regeneration and don’t ever skip it. Make sure You get enough sleep, eat well and stay calm. In return, Your body will repay You with lack of injuries, great results and a gigantic amount of energy to act, not only during Your workouts. After all, that’s why You do the sport You love so much, don’t You?