Allowing for recovery after a workout is the best way to prevent future problems from over training. The time allowed for recovery is what allows our body to adapt to the stress put on it from our workouts. A common misconception is that we get stronger and build muscle during our workouts, but this is the time when we are actually breaking down muscle tissue! During our rest and recovery is when the body rebuilds itself to be stronger and adapt to the stress from the workout. If the body is constantly under stress then it has no time to rebuild itself and we start to become over trained. If you are experiencing prolonged muscle soreness (over 72 hours), increased joint pain and inflammation, having restless sleep, or feeling more unmotivated than usual then these can be signs you could be over training and need to focus on your recovery. Here are the most important tools to use!
Adequate Rest Time
Sleep is the most important rest time for us because that is when hormones that are optimal for recovery and building muscle are at their highest. Try to get as much adequate sleep as you can even if it means going to bed earlier. Every hour less of sleep you get a night adds up every consecutive night that you do so. This means that if for 1 week you are getting 1 hour less of sleep than you need every night, by the end of that week it would be the same on your body as not sleeping at all for 1 full night!
Relieving stress becomes more and more important the more crazy and hectic our lives become! The build up of stress, both physically and psychologically, can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. When we are stressed our body releases a hormone called cortisol which triggers the breakdown of muscle for energy. If we are constantly stressed then we will be having a much tougher time recovering from our workouts! Try to have at least 20-30 minutes daily where you can unload and relax, whether it is by sitting alone in a quiet spot or going for a walk. Walking on a nature trail significantly lowers cortisol levels more than walking along side a busy road too so try to make it in as peaceful and calm of an area as possible!