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Give It A Rest

Cardinal rule of exercise – you have to allow your body to rest and repair. Although this is widely known, I often talk to people who never rest and exercise 7 days a week.

Why Rest Is Important:

  • The body repairs and strengthens itself in-between workouts. Continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athlete.stock-footage-woman-drinks-coffee
  • During recovery, the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place – meaning, this is where you build muscle.
    • Conditioning requires a balance between overload (pushing the muscles) and recovery. Too much overload or too little recovery result in both physical and psychological symptoms.
  • Rest helps maintain a better balance between home, work &  fitness goals.
  • Sleep is key to keeping hormone levels steady which aid in stress and muscle recovery, as well as a stable mood.  Sleep deprivation can also affect aerobic endurance.
  • Too  few rest and recovery days can lead to overtraining syndrome : when you train beyond the body’s ability to recover.

Common Warning Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome 

  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
  • Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Sudden drop in performance
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
  • Decrease in training capacity / intensity
  • Moodiness, irritability or depression
  • Loss of enthusiasm for working out
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased incidence of injuries
  • A compulsive need to exercise 

Principal of Adaptation & How It Applies To Recovery

When we undergo the stress of physical exercise, our body adapts and becomes more efficient – Principal of Adaptation (also discussed in our “The Power of Your Heart” blog entry). When you do not properly rest from the stress of physical exercise, your body cannot adapt as easily to the changes.

The body can only tolerate so much stress before it breaks down and risks injury. Doing too much, too quickly will result in muscle damage and have adverse effects (too many days of exercise). Likewise, doing too little, too slowly will not result in improvement (going through the motions).

The other key component of building your fitness level is to vary your workouts between cardio and strength conditioning. All too often, people will focus on one or the other and constantly work the same muscles without rest. Ever try a new class and couldn’t move the next morning? Excellent example of muscles you are not training in your normal workout. Varying your workouts allows the muscles you typically use to rest and helps your body adapt to change (improve your fitness level).

My Take

People always ask me what I do for my workouts. I am a pretty scheduled kinda girl who likes to plan my week. I work out 5 days/wk with 2 days rest.

3 days I vary my workout with high intensity interval and strength training at K2 fitness. In between those days, I do 2 days/wk of interval sprints for 30 minutes on my treadmill (5 min running/2 min sprint circuits).

I believe in those 2 days of rest (as hard as it is sometimes to mentally convince myself to not workout). I feel so refreshed when I  go back to my workouts.

When I workout, I workout hard and make every minute count. It’s better to maximize your time at the gym and work hard the days you go then going through the motions every day and not improving your fitness level. Workout, repair and workout again.

And think of all the time you will save with less days at the gym.

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It’s Not Just a Luxury

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a woman named Helga. She was my masseuse. She was in her 70’s and one of the strongest, healthiest, wisest women I have ever met.

In a matter of an hour, she taught me life philosophies, including not taking things so seriously and taking care of your body as a top priority. She believes women take too much time taking care of others, and not enough time taking care of themselves.  And guilt is over-rated.

Working for many spas in my marketing career, I knew the importance of rejuvenating your body and healing, but I always looked at treatments as a luxury and felt massage2so guilty when I did indulge. Helga reiterated to me the importance of massage and how many cultures require family members to massage themselves daily to ensure their bodies functions optimally.

For the first time, it really resonated with me that massage may not just be a luxury, but a necessity. Massage has been a healing technique since ancient civilizations.

What does massage do for you?

Massage is the manipulation of layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques. It enhances muscle function, aids in healing, decreases muscle reflex activity and promotes relaxation and well-being. Specifically it can help:

  • Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
  • Enhance immunity by activating the body’s natural defense system.
  • Exercise and stretch weak, tight or atrophied muscles.
  • Improve circulation by pumping oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
  • Help athletes prepare for or recover from strenuous activity.
  • Increase joint flexibility.
  • Lessen depression and anxiety.
  • Relieve pain and migraines by releasing endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller.
  • Promote tissue regeneration to reduce scar tissue and stretch marks.
  • Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers.

My advice? Make an appointment for your next massage and consider scheduling them monthly. Dare I say I have appointments for 3 this month?? That’s a first.

Just a reminder…Skin Deep Salon & Spa is one of our discounted favorites. You receive a 10% discount when you show your Heels to Laces VIP discount card.  Another favorite masseuse is Sharon Priore – she works out of the Summit Y: slpriore@yahoo.com.

If you have other recommendations, please share them by adding a comment to this post.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces

  • lisa

    Love a good massage.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for the great tips!

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20 Healthy Things You Can Do For Yourself Today…In 10 Minutes or Less

1. Drink 8-12 oz of water first thing in the morning – helps empty your bowels, flush out toxins and hydrate you for the first part of the day

2. Straighten your posture and lower your shoulders – releases tension and stress, resets your spine and strengthens your core10 min

3. Take a probiotic to balance the bacteria in your stomach – remarkable healing powers

4. Replace your sugar snack with a protein snack – lite cheese stick, nuts, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, egg…helps build muscle throughout the day and keep your sugar levels balanced

5. Resist the impulse purchase of a candy bar and eat fruit instead – the benefits of fresh fruit far outweigh the sugar high and crash from a processed candy bar…and you will be fuller, longer

6. Sprinkle your food with organic 100% whole ground flaxseed – provides high fiber, protein, lignans (antioxidants) & omega-3’s (healthy, beneficial fats)

7. Eat slowly – pause 2 seconds between bites…helps you eat less, realize you are fuller, quicker and helps you digest your food more efficiently

8. Conquer a fear – provides an amazing sense of accomplishment and encourages you to challenge yourself even more

9. Climb the stairs – works your quads, hamstrings, butt and heart

10. Drink a skim latte with cinnamon (1 sugar/syrup pump or less) – high dose of protein, healthy caffeine & cinnamon to raise your metabolism

11. Tell someone how good they look– the reward from making someone feel good is worth every second

12. Have oatmeal for a healthy breakfast or snack – perfect balance of complex carbs, protein and fat and will keep you full for hours

13. Ask for your salad dressing on the side – salad dressing can sabotage a healthy lunch with high fat, empty calories and chemicals – dip your fork in first, then take a bite of salad

14. Take a slow, deep breath and exhale. Repeat. – it will reset your mind and stress level

15. Wake up 10 minutes earlier so you don’t have to rush – imagine how much calm you will add to your morning

16. Park far away from where you have to go and walk there briskly – gets in a quick cardio burst and fills your lunges with fresh air (while you are at it, return the cart too) 😉

17. Stand up and stretch – hold each stretch for at least 6 seconds, repeat…really try to elongate your spine – helps stretch your muscles and reset your body

18. Squeeze your buttocks whenever you stand and hold the contraction – this full body isometric hold will tighten your butt and strengthen your abs – wait until you see the results in lift!

19. While watching TV, do as many push-ups as you can during the commercials – will strengthen your upper body and core and keep you from going to the cabinet for a snack (it’s ok to drop to your knees)

20. Have sex – helps improve your immune system, counts as exercise, releases endorphins and Oxycontin to eliminate stress, anxiety and depression and helps you sleep better!

To be continued…

  • Debra

    My favorite is #18!!

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