The importance of letting your body heal


Do you ever wish you could press a button and the fitness you have been working hard for could just stick and not fade with time?

No-one likes the thought of losing fitness after a major event or fitness goal but it’s important to give your body time to heal and mentally have a break.  This can be tricky and hard for some to get their heads around, but I have seen it time and time again, people not taking the time to refresh and cracks showing as a consequence down the track.

It’s a matter of accepting that your body needs time to heal – hormones, cells, muscles, tendons, joints etc all need a break to regenerate and find balance again. The goal is to have complete recovery. Muscle soreness is not a good guide and it of course depends on the length of race you are recovering from but it’s something you shouldn’t rush but rather begin when you feel you are ready…mentally and physically.

The best recovery is one that optimizes your musculoskeletal recovery yet also maintains your conditioning. Most research indicates that as long as there is an aerobic stimulus once every two to three days, aerobic fitness will be maintained.  This is ok, as you will be entering another phase of training anyway (if it’s the end of season), which will begin again with aerobic/strength type training.

The goal is to get your circulation moving with foam rolling, stretching and massage and low impact easy cardio rather than train or burn calories. Your body needs downtime, especially in the first week after the race. Go out and do things you have been missing – go to the pool, for a surf, walk or yoga class, go for a ride with the kids, just give your body a break from what ever activity you usually do the most of.

This is also a great approach if you find you have plateaued in your training or just lack motivation in your fitness routine. Break out of the mould and find your spark again, it is there, just a little buried under what might be staleness.

Healing the body takes time, and is just as important as training. Nutrition, sleep and active recovery will help but in the end it’s when you feel fresh enough to return.

pic via – weheartit

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