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The Importance of Rest & Repair – Part 1: Physical & Psychological Rest written by Kat Millar
This is the first of two articles on the subject of rest and repair. Here we discuss three aspects of rest. We all know that to keep ourselves in top physical shape we must exercise and eat well. However, there is another important and often overlooked aspect of health that we must do, in order to maintain optimal health and that is rest.
Often we increase the intensity of workouts or change our diet and expect our bodies to adapt, failing to bear in mind that in order to adapt to the demands we place on it, our body needs the time to rest and repair.
1. Forms of Physical Rest
Rest comes in many forms such as our daily sleep patterns: our night time sleep, as well as napping or ‘siestas’ during the day. Rest also includes our morning and evening rituals, meditation and breathing exercises. Another important aspect of rest is our holiday time and many people are severely ‘holiday deficient’.
2. Rest for the brain
As well as physical rest, we also need to give our brains a rest. Constantly over-stimulating our minds is not healthy for us psychologically. If our brains are consumed by information constantly coming in, it can halt our ability to think clearly and to come up with creative thinking and problem-solving.
Ask yourself –‘Am I always rushed?’ If so, this will have an effect on you, both physically and mentally. It’s important to determine which activities need to be done faster (perhaps shopping or simple tasks) and which activities are to be lingered in (for example, time with your loved ones).
Years ago, when we were less distracted by our mobile phones, people would often appreciate nature and each other more. Nowadays, many of us struggle to truly enjoy each moment because we’re anxiously awaiting the next. Being rested requires us to live mindfully by being present in each moment. This usually brings great clarity and calm. It also creates spaciousness in your day. We need to find time to properly rest and repair in every area of our lives.
Healthy sleep patterns promote complete sleep cycles. Your brain goes through different sleep phases when you rest. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep which involves dreaming and non-REM sleep which is the deepest and most critical phase of sleep. This is when the most vital repair and recharge take place. The more complete sleep cycles you experience, the better.
Seven hours or more of quality sleep has been shown to increase longevity. If you can’t get a full seven hours, aim to get the sleep you think/feel your body needs. Test it out by getting yourself more organised and going to bed earlier each night until you wake without your alarm.
Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself. Functions such as protein synthesis which is what drives our muscle growth, tissue repair and healing occurs mostly during sleep. These processes are necessary for our bodies to operate at their best.
Poor sleep can affect most areas of our lives because:
It lowers your ability to manage stress and causes the build-up of inflammation in the body.
It reduces tissue repair and recovery from muscle damage. It may also delay strength recovery.
It alters our hormonal balance and immune function and can lead to poor blood sugar control.
It can reduce motivation to train. Although, we do know that working out with someone can provide more motivation even when we are tired, compared to when we are working out individually.
It can reduce your ability to make positive decisions by causing you to be more distracted by negative emotions which compromises your problem-solving skills.
To keep ourselves in top physical shape we must exercise and eat well and not overlook the need for rest which we have discussed in this article. Next month in the January issue of GHGTM, I consider the processes and ways in which we can undertake repair where the body under stress now needs to repair itself in order to maintain optimal health.
Author of this article:
Kat Millar works with people globally to improve their health, confidence and energy. Since 2003, through her coaching, training, online programs and seminars, Kat has helped almost a thousand people to achieve their goals. Kat is an award-winning figure competitor, fitness lecturer and NLP practitioner and has a passion for nutrition and behavioural psychology. Kat offers a range of programs for total body transformation and can be contacted through her website or her Facebook page.