We all know about the importance of physical exercise and sticking to a scheduled workout regimen. It’s kind of been driven into our heads that physical exercise is very, very good for us. Regular physical exercise has been proven to provide a variety of benefits both physically and mentally. These benefits include an increased immune system, increased muscle mass and decreased fat content, better sleep patterns and a better overall state of well-being. However just like anything, overexerting yourself and becoming addicted to your routine can present a variety of new problems. Overtraining can actually hinder your recovery, which is crucial to any exercise routine.
I’m speaking mostly to guys here as we are the most susceptible to becoming addicted to our exercise routine. However no matter how much you enjoy your routine there is such a thing as taking it a little too far. Personally I had to learn the hard way about overtraining and not getting enough rest. A lingering wrist injury forced me to examine the way I was training and in many cases, overtraining.
Rest and Recovery
Taking a few days off from the gym and getting adequate rest can not only aid in your recovery, but can actually increase your strength gains and allow you to put on more muscle mass. Sounds crazy, but the reasoning behind this is actually pretty simple. One of the best pieces of advice I’d ever received with respect to exercise was that your muscles don’t grow when you’re training, they grow when you’re resting. Adequate rest is integral to maximizing your results.
So how do you know when you’ve been going a little too hard? Well for starters, be smart and listen to your body. We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt beat up and sore and once in a while, it’s okay to kick your ego to the curb and take it easy. There are a variety of lower-intensity workouts that can do wonders in allowing your muscles to recover, including yoga and core exercises. Furthermore listening to your body can also prevent you from injuring yourself which would in turn keep you out of the gym even longer (gasp.)
Depending on your exercise regimen, going all out at the gym may be a requirement. However what should always be emphasized is how adequately resting your muscles can not only maximize your results and assist in your recovery, but also prevent you from sustaining any long-term injuries down the line.
Photo Credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery