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Activity is a key ingredient in every life, and this is a cornerstone of wellness. A sedentary lifestyle has added to the chronic illness that many Americans face. Can you get too much exercise? We have all been told and made to believe that the more you work out the better fitness results you will get, right? What if I told you that you need to rest and recover as much as you work out to optimize your training, nutrition, and therefore your results?
Exercise of any type or duration requires you to spend energy outside of your body. It is a physical stressor that activates your sympathetic nervous system; this is the system responsible for our “fight or flight” response.
Paul Chek, founder of the C.H.E.K Institute, promotes a concept of working in vs. working out. I love this! Working In supports organ and glandular function, cultivates energy in the body, makes our bodies more efficient, and resets natural biological rhythms. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the side of our nervous system responsible for “rest and digest.” Working In creates energy in our body versus working out which spends that energy.
We spend much of our day in “fight or flight” mode and not enough time in “rest and digest.” Exercising or working out intensely without a break for recovery continues to drive a negative stress response in the body. We then become more energy depleted and are more susceptible to infections & injury.
The key is to balance working out with working in. Working In includes but is not limited to activities such as :
• Leisure Walking
• Foam Rolling
• Core Work
Working In also includes adequate restful sleep (for most people this means 7-9 hours) and providing your body with nutrient dense foods to build it back up. Working In includes activities or movement that you do not have to recover from.
Our bodies are not machines that can perform at the same intensity and efficiency for years at a time, and not taking a break from your exercise program can be counterproductive to achieving your goals. Exercise-induced muscle damage needs healing time. If your muscles are not given the proper time to heal, you miss the benefits of muscle adaptation, and therefore the increases in strength and fitness.
In addition, it’s important to note that our muscles can recover much quicker than our cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and joints. They run on a different time frame. Your joints will thank you for a taking a break and doing a bit of working in.
As the weather gets nicer, how can you spend some time working in? A walk in nature each day is a great way to calm the body and the mind as well as keep your body moving. Perhaps gardening or light yard work is something that you enjoy. Whatever it is, the best way to move closer to your health and fitness goals is to spend a little time each day and multiple times per week working in. You won’t regret it!
If you have any questions about this article or would like to contact Amy for more information, you may reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.