To Train Like an Athlete, You Need To Rest Like One—Here’s How To Do Just That
In 2022, technological advances have evolved such that regular people have access (if they can afford it) to tools professional athletes utilize. Whether that’s wearable fitness trackers, state-of-the-art massage guns for post-workout recovery, or mirrors that double as entire gyms—there’s no shortage of devices to support your fitness journey. However, as fitness and wellness evolve, these developments bring with them an ever-present pressure to do “the right thing” for your health.
Of course, it makes sense to look at what professional athletes are doing and what the latest technology can offer. However, one of the important habits and strategies for optimizing your fitness routine, like the most famous and accomplished athletes of our time, is resting like an athlete.
Recovery is as important as training, according to Johnathan Leary, DC, a doctor of chiropractic medicine who specializes in recovery, rest, and wellness. Dr. Leary started his career working with professional athletes that were training for 40 percent of their time and focusing on recovery for the other 60 percent. This made him realize how important rest and recovery were.
This recent episode of The Well + Good Podcast dove into some rest and recovery tenants that will help you meet your fitness goals on and off the court, treadmill, asphalt, sidewalk, yoga mat, swimming pool, or trampoline—whatever your movement journey includes.
Sleep is where the body recovers from exercise, says Kristen Holmes, an NCAA champion coach and vice president of the fitness tracking company WHOOP. Without adequate sleep, Holmes stresses that you’re not going to see the results you want in the gym. The best place to start? Regular bedtimes, beneficial tech habits, and getting the full amount you need for your age group and gender are great places to start.
Rest days for recovery
Despite the fact that rest can include sleep, it’s not the only way you can rest. Dr. Leary shares that rest days don’t necessarily mean that you’re not working out. They can also include mobility stretching, massaging muscle groups that you typically work on, or engaging in light exercise that utilizes different body areas (like gentle walks). This also includes stretching muscles that you utilize a lot in your sport.
Injury prevention techniques
Another aspect of recovery is incorporating injury prevention throughout your fitness journey, Dr. Leary says. That means that you should be making sure that you’re wearing the right garments, using the right form, and stretching on your off days.
Recovery can and should start well before something starts to hurt or you get injured. That is how you can prevent long-term injuries.
Another way you can engage in rest and recovery is meditation and breathwork, Dr. Leary says. Calming your mind via meditation and calming your nervous system with deep breathing can have a lot of positive impacts on your body. Having a dedicated practice of this can allow you to manage stress levels which is important for feeling rested and having enough energy to participate in the sport you enjoy.
Interested in learning more about what athletes use to optimize their performance and wellness? Check out the most recent episode for useful insight from some of the brightest minds in the field.
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