Total Health

Rest & Recover Your Way to Better Health

Last week we wrote about the two most important training tips Gidon Gabbay gives to his clients when they want to see immediate results. Today he shares with us another training tip just as important: rest and recovery.

Night dreamsMost G Force Training clients have disposable income to spend on a personal trainer because they’ve worked hard to attain success and continue to work hard to maintain it. However, this usually comes at a cost: sacrificing sleep.

Whether your income is high or low, late nights and early mornings become a habit. We reason to ourselves that our business or jobs need extra attention, so do our kids and ageing parents. There’s always an excuse to forego a few hours of sleep so we can get ahead, or finally catch up. And so we grab an extra coffee and push through.

You may have heard someone say, or even said it yourself: “I’ll sleep when I die.” What people don’t realize is that consistent lack of sleep will land you in the grave sooner!

Sleep is Essential to Physical & Mental Health

We’ve all experienced a sleepless night before. In the morning, we wake up groggy and weak. We struggle through the day trying to regain our concentration and energy, and if we try any type of workout under these conditions, we feel it’s an ineffective one.

These are the repercussions we are aware of but there are hidden consequences to lack of sleep, too. For instance, if you aren’t getting the sleep your body requires, it produces extra cortisol, a stress hormone, which should be at its lowest during sleep and if it’s not, it slows down your metabolism.

Two other important hormones released during sleep are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin acts as an appetite-suppressant and metabolism regulator while ghrelin is an appetite stimulant. Sleep deprivation robs your body of releasing enough leptin and increases the release of ghrelin. As you can see, they both help regulate weight and if they’re all out of whack…

And that’s just the beginning. According to Dr. Natasha Turner, author of The Hormone Diet, these are the hormonal benefits of getting enough sleep:

  • calms the nervous system for relaxation
  • maintains youth (anti-aging hormone is released)
  • increases happiness (feel good hormones released)
  • protects against harmful effects of excess estrogen
  • maximizes metabolism
  • enhances appetite control
  • keeps muscles moving
  • sharpens mind and memory
  • greater night-time repair and fat-burning

Why It’s Important to Rest & Recover

Gidon likes to compare the body and mind to a computer. We are information machines and like a computer, we need time to process information so we can effectively incorporate it into our cells. Whether it’s new ideas or new demands we place on our body, we need rest and relaxation to absorb the information and adapt to it so we can use it properly.

Also like a computer, which is based on a language of ones and zeros, our bodies are designed similarly with a central nervous system consisting of two parts: the parasympathetic and sympathetic. The parasympathetic system is in charge of rest and repair while the sympathetic system is in charge of readying our body for action.

While one of these parts of the nervous system is on, the other must be off (like ones and zeros in a computer). For instance, you cannot digest a meal while you run down the street. If you’re always running or stressed out, your parasympathetic system is unable to perform it’s duty of repairing the natural damage done during activity.

Other Ways to Rest & Recover

Besides getting adequate sleep, where most of our processing and recovery are done, there are other ways you can deactivate your sympathetic system and activate your parasympathetic system:

  1. Meditating. Although many people still feel that meditation is a New Age phenomenon important only to yogis and monks, scientists have been studying it for decades and discovered REAL physical benefits. Calming the mind also calms the body. Among the many benefits, learning to mediate can help you fall asleep, increase concentration, control emotions, and basically change your entire life!
  2. Stretching. While meditation is using the mind to calm the body, stretching uses the body to calm the mind. Breathe into your stretches and feel the stress and tension melt away. Stretching also increases circulation, flexibility and the range of motion in your muscles and joints, just for starters.
  3. Hydrating. Like we mentioned in our last post, The 2 Most Important Training Tips for Accelerated Results, our body is made up of mostly water. In order for our cells to function properly, including the repair of torn muscles, they need to be hydrated. Drink plenty of water for a happy, effective body and mind.
  4. Eating complete, wholesome meals and snacks. Eating “right” provides your body with the “stuff” to build new cells. You are what you eat – literally. The nutrients you eat are used to build new cells and the anti-oxidants in foods help rid your body of dead cells. Proper digestion is key, however, because without this, your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients you ingest. Find out what foods you digest well, avoid foods (as often as possible) that do not agree with you, and choose nutrient-dense foods in a wide variety.

This is an information-packed post so to summarize: rest and recovery is just as important as being active. Sleep is integral to this process. You can also work towards developing daily habits of meditating, stretching, hydrating and eating well to assist in effective recovery.

What do you do to rest and recover?    

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