Monday, March 31, 2008

Rest, Nutrition and Exercise

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the relationship between rest, nutrition and exercise. Getting the balance just right between these important components of a healthy lifestyle is more difficult than it first appears. The balance is even more difficult for those advancing in years as younger bodies have considerably more flexibility and bounce back than older bodies do. The story is further complicated if your intention is to lose weight simultaneously with gaining strength and stamina.

There is considerable risk of doing some damage by over-doing the dieting and exercise that could lead to the complete opposite result of what was intended. Yet how to tell if one has done too much or eaten too little?

Listen to your body is what I recommend. If you exercise hard one morning and during the following hours you feel energized and slightly euphoric and possibly a little smug that everything is going well you have the mix just right. Post exercise feelings are the most important indicators of overall health and fitness. If on the other hand you found it difficult to complete your routine and the routine was just a normal routine for you then your body is telling you something. Either you are not getting enough nutrition or more rest between exercise intervals is required or both. During the day you may feel tired and a little sore. If this happens step up the eating a little with more healthy and energy giving foods. Take a two or three day break from exercise or just do a bit of mild exercise like walking or easy cycling.

Ignoring this advice may lead to feelings similar to flu where the body temperature rises, heart beat increase and you generally feel lousy. This is not a good place for the Active Survivalist to be. Full marks for pushing yourself to the limit but it is important to recognise that the limit has been reached and the time has come to back off. Now is the time to focus on getting enough sleep and possibly over eating a little on the best and most nutritious food you can lay your hands on. Take the opportunity to exercise the mind a little instead of doing that cardio. Reflect on your exercise routine and try to restore the balance.

The objective is to get that feeling back of post exercise energisation. Staying in this zone is all-important because it feels great and your body is getting the most benefit. It will also encourage you to stay fit and well. It will be almost impossible to stay in this zone and over doing it will be inevitable if you are dedicated to the program. The good news is that your body will tell you when things have gone too far. You just have to listen.

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