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Rest and Recovery is Just as Important as Exercise

The natural inclination when starting an exercise routine, especially if we see significant initial results, is to want to keep it going strong. However, you have to keep in mind that you can overdo it. Working out frequently at your maximum capacity is more likely to get you injured than in shape. We need rest to heal and to see the results of all our hard work.

Exercise actually damages out bodies. What? That's right. Exercise actually inflicts tiny injuries to our body's systems. But our body then heals the injuries and grows just a little stronger in order to handle future workouts. However, you need to allow enough recuperation time for this healing and rebuilding to occur. If you don't, you won't see improvement, and may actually see decreases in performance or energy, known as 'overtraining'.

This means you need to allow adequate time between workouts, that all your workouts can't be at maximum intensity (although some must be) and it also means you need to make sure you get enought sleep at night. Sleep is when the body goes through the processes that will repair your body from exercise and the other stresses of life. It's difficult to advise you on how much sleep you should get, because everyone is different, but the standard 7-8 hours per night is a good starting point. If you still feel tired or your workouts become more difficult, then increase your sleep by a half hour at a time until you begin to regain energy. A very few individuals can get by on 3-4 hrs. per night, but it's unlikely that you're one of the chosen few.

Besides getting adequate sleep, we need to give our body a respite from everyday stress. Exercise is a kind of stress, and combined with the everday pressures of life that we all experience, we may find that it's impossible to recuperate from our workouts. Therefore, you may want to investigate some relaxation methods such as meditiation or yoga in order to allow your body to regenerate as it needs to.

So remember, while hard work is good and does need to be performed on a regular basis in order to see the results we all want from our exercise program, the necessity for rest, relaxation and recuperation also exists. Be sure to balance the two so that your body is always ready for its next challenge.

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