April 13, 2024

The Rest, Relaxation & Exercise Cycle

Maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle in the hustle and bustle world that we live in can often seem daunting especially since time to rest, relax and exercise seems to be non-existent if you are commuting to work and/or taking care of your family or in school. All the more reason to take the best care of your body and mind as possible – to stay as healthy as possible. That may mean a big effort each day, but in the long run, it is worth it and really does make a difference in the quality of your life.


Getting enough sleep is essential to our ability to learn and process memories, restore energy, repair muscle tissue and trigger the release of hormones that effect growth and appetite.Quality of sleep matters too, specifically how much time is spent in REM (rapid eye movement) stage. REM is the most restorative of the 5 cycles of sleep and should account for one-fourth of the time you spend sleeping. For example, an adult who sleeps 8 hours in a night should spend a total of 2 hours in REM sleep. Lack of quality sleep time could put you at higher risk for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, headaches and depression.


Interestingly, there are no specific guidelines for how much relaxation a person should incorporate into their lifestyle, yes most people will say they crave time to just unwind and relax. Studies show that deep relaxation, like meditation when practiced regularly not only relieves stress and anxiety, but also is shown to improve mood, decrease blood pressure, relieve pain, and improve the immune and cardiovascular systems.


Not only does exercise help control weight, it also improves mental health, mood, the chances of living longer, and the strength of your bones and muscles. Everyone should pretty much be doing some kind of exercise from moderate activities like – brisk walking, gardening or a leisurely bike ride to vigorous intensive activities like jogging, running, swimming laps, hiking or group activities like Zumba. Muscle-strengthening activities that are also important include yoga, weightlifting and body-weight resistance activities like push-ups and sit ups.

One of the most important, yet overlooked, aspects of any exercise or training program is the recovery phase, or time spent resting. It is all too common a thought that rest time is a period of doing no work, and while you are not actually doing any physical work, physiologically your body is seizing the opportunity to repair itself to become stronger in preparation for the next exercise stress placed upon it. It is during rest that the body becomes stronger.

And so, we have come full circle. We need rest. We need relaxation. We need exercise, which brings us back to rest. Decide today how you will integrate this health enhancing cycle into your life.