In the pursuit of our goals, we usually focus mainly on hard work during workout sessions. That’s what we plan – when and how to exercise for the best possible results. But do we pay enough attention to regeneration in between workouts? How important is it? How should it look like? Shouldn’t we also plan it? If your idea of regeneration is simply cutting yourself some slack by doing nothing until your next workout session, here’s why you’re mistaken.

Why regeneration is so important

Engaging in regular workout, we put our body under considerable amount of effort. In the course of our busy week, if we’ve already found some time for exercising, the proper regeneration may be neglected. Being in top gear for most of the week, you may finally overstrain yourself both physically and mentally. If there’s something you’ll have to resign from, it obviously won’t be your job or family duties. The first thing to go will be your workout sessions.

Yet another case is when you do have time for workout and you’re really determined to achieve your goals. Struggling to lose weight or gain muscle as quickly and effectively as possible, you may underestimate the time for regeneration. Thinking that a day without a regular workout is a wasted day is a first step to overtraining.

Overtraining is a state in which your body doesn’t have enough time to recuperate after the previous workout before another session. Physically, such a state is a straight way to injuries. Mentally, it will cause a decrease in your motivation, the feeling of being constantly tired and sore, which may even set a start for depression.

It isn’t only the quantity that counts in effective workout, but also, and maybe above all, the quantity and the right proportion of exercises and rest. A well regenerated body works more effectively during the next workout. And a well regenerated mind makes you more motivated to stay on the right track.

How the regeneration should look like

Because the regeneration is so important, you should also pay attention to what you do while regenerating. Being completely passive is not what brings the best effects. Some would probably ask: “Why, shouldn’t we let our muscles rest?” The answer to this question is definitely positive, however, surprisingly enough, sitting or lying on the couch is not our muscles’ favourite way to do that.

A better idea is engaging in some light activity like, for instance, a short walk, or stretching. These won’t strain the muscles, but will stimulate your blood circulation. Another way to do that is a massage, a sauna session, or a hot bath. Regeneration bases on supplying the cells with all missing ingredients and repairing the micro-traumas within muscle fibers – and that’s what our blood does.

Following this vision of the blood providing the cells with the necessary ingredients, it is us who have to provide the blood with the proper nutrition. So don’t eat or drink junk when you’re having a break from workout in your schedule. Remember of proper hydration, too. The quality of the food you eat has a great influence on the effectiveness of regeneration.

And speaking mentally, as you don’t completely suspend physical activity and diet, the regeneration time won’t be an empty spot in your workout schedule. This means you won’t get out of the healthy habits. In other words, there will be no need to get back on the right track, since you have never left it.

Should we plan the regeneration

It’s not necessary to arrange timetables (well, unless you want a massage or a spa session). The idea is to plan one or two activities that will help your body regenerate fully and properly. It doesn’t have to be a walk for the sake of walking. You can walk instead of driving somewhere, for instance, walk for shopping, or walk a dog.

If you’re slowing down for regeneration, the lack of precise schedule will also allow you to rest mentally. Remember it is time that your body and mind are to use the best they can to recharge batteries for new challenges. The whole idea is just: don’t be reckless when you have some time for rest. Slow down the pace, but don’t stop, since as you stop it’s much harder to move back on.

About Cathy Patalas

The sports soul and the alleged specialist in words of The main 52C Blog writer. A diligent student at the English Department of the University of Wroclaw, majoring in applied linguistics. An ex-acrobat and aerobic gymnast with the 13-year long experience in „training for winning”. A multiple medallist of Poland nationals in acrobatic gymnastics, and academic nationals in aerobic gymnastics. A fan of gymnastics of every existing type. Personally, finds making everyday choices in a healthy lifestyle even more demanding a challenge than making everyday sacrifices in the athlete’s lifestyle.