Rest is a major factor in an athlete’s lifestyle. Training places the body under extreme physical stress through increased loading and resistance. As a result, your muscles and bones begin to break down, Catabolism. In addition, a great amount of pressure is put on the internal organs, failure to rest can lead to over training or overuse injuries.


What Is Rest?

You can define rest as physical inactivity, the best example of which, is sleep. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-8 hours a night, plus other rest periods throughout the day. Paula Radcliffe is reported to nap at 2pm every day, as well as getting roughly 8-10 hours sleep. An inability to sleep has a direct effect on the ability to recover effectively.



When coupled with a lack of rest, over training will have adverse effects on an athlete. A rise in resting heart rate is an early sigh of early training. As a result, athletes need to adapt their training schedule in order to compensate. Referring back to Paula Radcliffe, she checks her heart rate every morning and decides how hard to train dependant on the result. This is a simple yet very effective way of monitoring your training level. Consider your resting heart rate and make adaption’s where necessary. Other symptoms of over training may be a loss of enthusiasm, a lowered immune system, slight weight gain and chronic fatigue.

When we exercise we create micro stress fractures/traumas within our bones and muscles. Training too hard or for too long it can lead to injury. Overuse injuries occur when micro traumas increase, becoming major issues.


Brain & Body

There are also psychological benefits of resting. Worrying about a result or an upcoming match/workout will put your mind under stress, resulting in lowered performance; due to loss of focus on the task in hand. When we are sleeping our mind is not thinking about these things, which makes it the perfect way to relax and relieve mental stress. Mental stress causes the body produces adrenaline and cortisol, which are catabolic hormones. Being catabolic, they lead to a break down of the bodies structures. This can lead to illness and injury.

Rest can still be active! Examples of this may be a walk in the park, watching television or playing with your children (depending on how crazy they are!). Training is the stimulus for adaption’s within the body to occur, appropriate leisure activities such as sleep where and when these adaption’s actually materialise. In order for this to happen it is essential for an athlete to provide a suitable environment.


With the London Marathon this Sunday I am sure there will be lots of athletes doing everything they can to ensure they are in the best shape possible. Rest up, sleep and performance.


Personal Training In Richmond London with NK Fitness is a great way to learn more about your body and performance. Feel free to get involved and chat to our coaches about anything and everything fitness. You may be surprised by the emphasis we put on rest and recovery! It’s not all about beasting people!