Have you been training hard for your Peak District Challenge? Is all the running and hiking taking its toll on you? Then it’s time to take a day off training, whether it’s on a Sunday or whichever day works best for you to rest.
At first you might feel like you are wasting valuable training time, but your body will thank you and you will begin to reap the benefits before you know it! I’ve done some research and found some helpful tips on ways you can unwind after working out/training; I hope you find them useful!
Why do we need a rest day?
Firstly, it’s important to understand why we need a rest day. When you work out, especially when you aren’t used to exercising so much your body undergoes a little bit of trauma. Your body is working harder to build muscle and this can make you feel tired and sore. If you keep working out and ignoring the way your body feels you are at a higher risk of causing yourself an injury, which then may mean you need a lot more days off training, so in the long run (pardon the pun) it is good to take at least one day off training a week!
Also, you need time for your body to recover and rest; one day off could even help your running performance according to some studies.
Here are my tips on how you can have an effective rest day.
1: Relax your mind
If we are constantly on the go, thinking about running and training it is easy to let it take over your life. Fitness is fun and good for the body in moderation, but it is important to take time to do other things you enjoy to, that don’t involve exhorting the body and that makes you happy. Whether it’s going to a café and reading a couple of chapters of a book, or watching a feel-good film these can help to relax you. Laughter is a great way to relax too, so why not go to your local stand-up comedy night, or have a games night with friends. Do something fun!
2: Use a foam roller/ stretch
After a long week of training, it’s more than likely you will feel quite achy. Your rest day is a good time to do some stretching to loosen up your tired muscles. Maybe try out some yoga or Taichi (some Taichi groups meet in parks, do some research and see if there are any in your local park), or search the web for some moves you can try in the comfort of your own home.
Foam rollers are a really good tool to use too; they can really help with lactic acid build up from exercise. Using a foam roller is a good way to give yourself a massage, by releasing tension which will in turn help to speed up muscle recovery. You can purchase a foam roller for around about £10.00; if you want a bargain then try searching a charity shop for a second-hand foam roller- they really do work wonders!
3: Replenish your body
When you exercise, especially when it’s hot, you are likely to sweat more than usual. When we sweat our body loses essential salts and water, so it is important to replenish what we have lost as when we are dehydrated for example this can have negative effects on the body such as causing fatigue, headaches, and problems with digestion. Your rest day is a good time to make sure you have at least 8 glasses of water in the day, to rehydrate the body and a good time to snack on foods rich in potassium such as bananas, avocados, and raisins to replenish on what you have lost.
Catching up on sleep can also be a great way to help the body heal, take a thirty-ninety minute nap and you will notice your mood improve, and you will feel more alert. Getting enough sleep at night as well is important in order to have a healthy body, as when you sleep your cells attempt to recover any cell damage. Sleeping can also improve your memory, can help regulate your metabolism and lower stress levels. However, be careful not to oversleep as this will interfere with your sleeping pattern and may cause you to feel more tired. Most healthy adults should sleep seven to nine hours per day, so make this your goal!
4: Put your feet up.
Literally. Elevating your legs can improve the body’s circulation and intern this can help reduce swelling in the legs and the formation of varicose veins. All you need to do is pop a pillow under your legs and lie down; you can do this for 5-10 minutes. For the best results, you should elevate your legs no more than 45 degrees. Taking a bath and propping your feet up is a good idea too if you have soreness and tension in the body, the heat works as a pain reliever and helps to relax tense muscles.
Let me know if any of these tips helped you or share your tips with us on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PeakDistrictChallenge/