Slackers are constantly encouraged to get off the couch and start moving. Global anti-obesity campaigns are trying to motivate people to engage in physical activity. So, is it necessary to mention rest? Believe it or not, it is.
There are still plenty of passionate athletes that still hold the motto “the more (training), the better”. But the opposite is often the case. In an ideal world, your body works as a perfectly tuned machine. In the case of elite athletes, we could use the analogy of a sought-after race car. But just like a souped up car eventually runs out of fuel on the track, your body also works with a certain amount of energy. Without fuelling up, i.e. on nutrients, it just won’t work. Moreover, tired muscles need to rest.
There are three main factors:
Rest is not a cover-up for slackers; especially in strength disciplines, everybody knows that muscles don’t grow during training, but during the resting phase. While training activates muscles, it also causes microscopic damage to the muscle tissue and depletion of glycogen supply, which is a source of energy. Muscles heal and energy supply is replenished while resting.
When you tire your muscles in training, i.e. with a load of a certain intensity, the adaptation process takes place during the resting phase. And it is exactly what lets you increase your performance, i.e. to do more reps, running a greater distance, run faster, etc. during your next training.
You’ve probably encountered the term “over-training” and you most probably know that this condition is closely tied to a sharp increase in the risk of injury. A tired athlete is not able to carry out his or her training well, has problems with concentration, and all of this can easily lead to injury. If you approach a training after a good-quality rest, you’re able to minimize this risk.
There is a difference between active rest (regenerating with the help of low-impact activities) and passive rest (for example, sleeping). A combination of both is ideal, but it always depends on each and every individual athlete.
Somebody likes to enjoy their “rest days” taking walk, stretching, doing yoga, swimming or leisurely riding a bike. Given the intensity and rigorousness of the training schedule, others prefer to spend the rest days passively.
That mainly depends on the extent of the fatigue and a series of other factors. Ideally, athletes should pay particular attention to the following indicators showing a necessary time-out:
Your sports life is like driving a fast car. You have to make the right decision about when to put the pedal to the metal and when to slam on the brakes. And just like a car should ideally start out with a tank full of fuel and its condition should be inspected thoroughly, you also should start a hard workout well-rested and full of energy.
Author: Kateřina Gotzová
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