Fitness Planning: Rest well to be well

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Let's first examine why we need to recover from our workouts.

After a long week of cardiovascular fitness, muscle building and flexibility training, it is finally time to celebrate your successes and allow your body to both relax and prepare for the next week’s activities. As I often tell my training clients, if you are going to work like an athlete, you need to rest like an athlete.

Week in and week out, our beloved New Orleans Saints players push their bodies to the brink of athletic capability. What allows them to continually stress their bodies in such a way? Just as in sports, the real magic happens off the field in the training and therapy rooms.

Let’s first examine why we need to recover from our workouts.

After weight training our muscles are mad at us. We are stressing each muscle fiber’s ability to expand and contract, sometimes causing tears in those tissues (this is the post workout soreness that we love and cherish) with the hopes that our muscles heal back stronger.

Each and every step of our daily run exerts almost three times our body weight on our feet! Constant bouts of stress such as running can leave our feet and ankles in a sore state!

Sore muscles and joints are our body’s way of asking for a break. In the days after a workout, being sore can be a sign of a strenuous routine, but being in pain can be a sign of overtraining or injury.

The best way to let our body recover is to let it rest. For a driven person who has set health and fitness goals, rest can be quite a roadblock. Going forward, we will take a look at recovery methods that allow us to stay active and keep pursuing our goals.

Self-Myofascial Release
The use of foam rollers and other apparatus such as lacrosse balls and trigger point mechanisms can be used to “massage” your muscles and relieve unbalanced tension and tight spots across your muscles. This allows your muscles, which we are constantly stressing and repairing, to return to their normal lengths and increase range of motion in our joints. A typical SMR session will include using a foam-roller on your major muscle groups for 30 seconds while avoiding bony areas and focusing on tight areas.

Often times, simply doing exercise that is less strenuous will allow our bodies to repair and recover the intense workouts from our normal schedule. Walking is light on your joints and also provides time to let our minds reach a sense of well-being.

Moving against water will make our bodies almost weightless and will provide light, smooth resistance to keep burning calories in a relaxed setting.

Putting our bodies in poses that give our joints full range of motion allows for greater blood flow to our major muscles which aids in helping our muscles heal back to their regular conditions.

Active Recovery is a great way to let our bodies recover while still burning calories and moving. It is very important to listen to your body while on any exercise routine and implementing Active Recovery methods when you are feeling sore, tired or beat up.

Just as those Saints players practice day in and day out, we move and exercise all the time. What allows the athletes to stay healthy and injury free depends on the amount of time they spend taking care of their bodies outside the lines.

The next time that your body is aching or yearning for rest, give it what it wants by employing one of these great active recovery methods.

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Brandon Hebert

Brandon is the Training Manager of Anytime Fitness Destrehan and has extensive experience working with athletes young and old. After beginning his career at Elmwood Fitness working with individual clients, he started working with high school athletes and running outdoor boot camps. While working with The Fitness Principle at EJGH under Mackie Shilstone, Brandon worked with NFL and MLB athletes…

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