We’re all aware that exercise is good for our health, but many people get stuck in that the mind-set that the more you exercise the healthier you will be. The reality is that although physical activity is essential to our wellbeing it’s just as important to get sufficient rest afterwards. Here’s why you should take time to rest after physical exercise.
Recovery of Muscles
Resting after a workout allows your muscles to recover and become stronger as a result of the physical exercise performed. This is particularly true after strength training but applies to all forms of exercise when the muscles are progressively overloaded. When this happens, microscopic tears happen to the fibres of the muscle, when you rest these tears are repaired stronger than before. This can be in density, size, or endurance capabilities depending on the type of exercise.
It’s important during this rest period to fuel your muscles so they recover effectively rather than be used as fuel for energy. Protein will aid the recovery and growth of a muscle, so getting a sufficient amount in your diet will help enormously. Additionally, calorie burn continues after the workout ends – the length of which varies on the type of exercise – so carbohydrates are necessary to retain energy levels.
Replenishment of Energy Stores
We’ve already mentioned how energy and muscles can be replenished by eating after exercise, but the body will also so some of this restoration by itself. Fluids and sources of energy can be produced by the body while you rest as you are no longer forcing it to use them to engage in physical exercise.
The most important time for this to happen is during sleep. While you sleep you can regulate production of hormones such as cortisol – a stress hormone – produce human growth hormone – helps tissue repair and produce glycogen stores – a source of energy. If a person over exerts themselves or does not sleep enough none of this can happen and stress and fatigue will increase without recovery.
Adaptation to New Physical Exercise
Rest after physical exercise is also important in the process of adapting to a new exercise regime. The stress that the body goes under after a workout makes the body more efficient and develops a skill, but there is a limit to how much the body can undergo in a certain period. If too much stress is put on the body injuries are more likely to occur. Additionally, exhaustion form over exertion can make the body more vulnerable to illness and infection. By resting the body can prepare itself for additional exposure to more physical stress, improving the efficiency of adaptation.
However, a balance between rest and physical exercise is necessary. Too little may cause injury and illness, but too much will prevent improvement in terms of skill and fitness. A well-balanced regime will plan out rest periods in proportion to the intensity of the physical exercise performed, with the aim of finding the most efficient way of improving overall health.