Rest is Underrated
At a microscopic level, training stresses the body (often causing micro-damage to various tissues) and the repair process makes the area stronger as a result – this over time makes us stronger/faster/fitter. When we rest, our bodies are able to focus energy on repairing damaged tissues, reducing inflammation, and restoring balance to the various systems within the body. This process is essential for healing injuries, but it can also help prevent future injuries by allowing the body to build up its strength and resilience.
The frequent overload injuries I see in the clinic are usually as a result doing too much of the same type of training, with inadequate rest – not allowing the healing process enough time or energy to occur and the micro-damage accumulates until the specific tissue reaches a critical damage point and we get an acute injury that has been driven by overload.
Having a well structured training program, with adequate rest days scheduled and with rest or deload weeks incorporated into your training is important in order for you to both reduce injury risk, but most importantly see the progression that might be missing in your training. Mixing up your training mode (swim, bike, run, walk, weights etc) can also be a good way for you to remain active but give your body a different stimulus to enable adequate rest to specific tissues. Getting optimal rest also includes getting adequate sleep and managing our stress as best as possible.
In addition to physical benefits, rest can also be incredibly beneficial for our mental health. Taking time to slow down, relax, and recharge can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve our mood, and promote better sleep. All of these factors contribute to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of rest for our physical and mental well-being. Whether you’re recovering from an injury, dealing with a niggle, or maybe you aren’t seeing the training results you expected, inadequate rest might be the answer. So, be sure to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs to thrive.