I often find it funny when my clients give me the double take because I've told them to take a "rest" day. Or when my Mommy Recess clients, give a big exhale of relief at the end of class when I tell them to take a moment for themselves and just breathe.
Taking time in your day, your week, your workout routine to rest, relax and recharge is just as equally as important to your health as your exercise and healthy eating plan. Its those rest days that allow you to repair all the damage to your body from stress and intense exercise that you've done all week. Sleep is part of your body's daily "rest", repair and recharge cycle. Studies have shown that the average adult, needs 7-9 hours of sleep daily (Are you getting enough?!) to adequately repair from the stress and damage of the day. Your body, brain, organs, hormones and muscles need to repair, rest, so you can start the next day at your optimum.
Ask any mom with a newborn about the effects of sleep deprivation and they can provide you with a list a mile long: trouble concentrating, increased hunger, irritablility, mood swings, increased cravings, decreased balance, decreased motivation, increased fight or flight reactions, weight gain, etc. And all these things are supported by science. Your body needs to rest to work at its best.
Not only do you need to rest, but you need to find activities that help your body, mind and soul recharge. You know those things you could do for hours. Those things where when you're doing them, you suddenly look up at the clock and hours have passed. Those things that make you smile, inside and out. That just feel GOOD!
Those activities recharge your body. They give your mind a rest, as you can just "do" them. And they're different for everyone. For some its a hike or a vinyasa yoga session. For others its reading a good book or painting. The list of possibilites is endless. They are as different as the individuals who do them. But the key is that they are done for the pure enjoyment of doing them. There is no desired outcome, no specific need to do them. They are the activities that fill your heart, spirit and soul with joy.
There are far to many "to dos" on our plates each day. Things that we begrudgingly "have" to do. There are far too few moments of pure joy in our lives, but that shouldn't be. During those rest days, that time taken to repair your body, take time then to also recharge your soul. Chat with a girlfriend, go to Sunday services, sing like no one is watching, lose yourself in a movie and pjs. Take time, schedule time, to recharge, body and soul, finding joy in an activity you love.
You'll come back able to tackle your week, your work, your exercise and nutrition goals. That same relaxation response you get from taking a vacation, except this is a weekly mini-vacation! You'll be a better mom, wife, co-worker and a healthier person. Resting and recharging has been shown to lower your blood pressure, disease risk, hormone levels, heart rate, decrease depression, and many more things. Its not a luxury, it is essential to your well rounded health.
So, if you need to, take it as a homework assignment from your trainer. (My clients love it when I give them homework!) :) Each week take a day to rest, to find an activity that recharges your body and soul. You have your trainer's permission.
I'd love to hear from you! What activities do you do for pure enjoyment? What do you do that fills your heart and soul with joy, recharging you for the days ahead? How do you spend your rest day?