Fitness Facts: Benefits of rest
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
We are about halfway through the summer, and hopefully you are able to get away for rest and relaxation.
There are many health benefits to resting, but it is one thing that many people neglect when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. They eat the right foods and exercise regularly, but they do not take the time to relax their body, mind and Spirit! Here are few that you might not be aware of:
- Improves focus.
- Increases motivation.
- Aids recovery. Aday or two off per week is required to allow bone, muscle, tendons and ligaments the time to recover and repair themselves. Muscle growth occurs during rest periods, not during exercise.
- Helps you sleep: Adequate sleep allows the mind to repair itself and develop new connections.
- Boosts brain function and allows for better concentration and focus. This allows you to be more effective and efficient. Less time to do the same work!
- Protects your heart: Researchers agree that rest and relaxation protects your heart from the effects of stress.
- Re-orients our thinking patterns and increases creativity.
- Refreshes us, making it easier to return to our normal schedules.
- Lowers stress and in turn decreases abnormal levels of the stress hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol can zap your energy, decrease productivity and decrease your overall general health.
There are also spiritual benefits. The Bible has several references to the value of rest and restoration. Exodus 20:8-11 describes how God Himself rested after He completed his work in six days. So I challenge you all to make a resolution to get the rest your body and mind deserves. Here are a few tips to get started:
- A day of rest: Take a day each week to rest from your usual hectic schedule. Spent time with family, read a book, go to church or choose an activity that enables you celebrate the gifts that life has to offer.
- Lights out: Give yourself a strict schedule for going to sleep. At bedtime, turn off the television, put down your smartphone or close that book you were reading.
- Write it down: Challenge yourself to keep a log of the time you go to sleep, what time you wake up and any improvement you may feel. Try this for a month.
However you want to incorporate rest into your schedule, make it a priority!