For most, vacation season is here or about to start. Whether you are traveling to the mountains or the beach, it’s the time of year when many of us start planning for a much needed break from the daily grind.
When you think of getting fit, resting is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. It is true that becoming healthy and fit involves work. It involves lots of effort and sweat and determination. But it also involves taking time to rest and relax. To reach your goals, you need balance: both hard work and R & R.
Dangers of over training
In our enthusiasm to lose weight and get fit, it is tempting to focus so hard on effort that we overwork ourselves. But this is unwise, because it brings undesirable consequences such as:
- Burnout. If you exercise too much with no breaks, you will likely experience burnout. And this can be deadly as far as your goals are concerned. Burnout leads to loss of motivation, and loss of motivation leads to giving up. Intense exercise day in and day out can lead to feelings of resentment toward your exercise times. You may become sick of it. A sign that you may be heading toward burnout is if you begin dreading your workout sessions; a change in attitude is often one of the first signs that you are losing momentum.
- Injury risk. Overtaxing your body with too much exercise and insufficient rest can lead to injuries. During exercise, your body naturally experiences stress, strain and micro-injuries. When you rest, these micro-injuries heal; this leads to improved strength and greater over-all endurance. But if these micro-injuries do not have a chance to heal before you hit them with more exercise stress, they will give out and possibly succumb to extensive injury. Moderation is the key, and moderation demands periods of rest and relaxation.
- Decreased life performance. An overworked and overtaxed body (and mind) simply gets tired. And as you become more and more fatigued, you will become less productive not only in the gym, but also in your other responsibilities as well. Your work, family and social life will suffer if you do not listen to your body and mind and give them some time off.
Tips for making the most of your vacation time
Taking time to relax each day is important, but so is taking a vacation each year. There is nothing like getting away for a while to refresh your mind, body and spirit. No matter where you are headed for vacation, it’s okay to take some time off and simply relax and heal. In fact it is crucial.
And if you choose to stay home this year on a stay-cation, be sure you really use that vacation time for all it’s worth. You don’t have to leave home to relax, but you may find you have to work at it a little more. Sometimes it is hard to relax when the daily to-do’s are staring you in the face!
- Take some time by the pool. If the hotel you are staying at has a pool, be sure to take advantage of it. There is something about sitting beside water that brings quick relaxation.
- Sleep in. Vacation is the perfect time to let yourself get off schedule a bit and sleep later in the mornings. Yes, you’ll have to readjust when life gets back to normal, but let your body sleep if it needs it. Remember: the point is healing and repair.
- Sight-see during off hours. It’s hard to relax when you are jostled by people from all directions. Fighting crowds tends to increase stress, not decrease it. Pick your favorite attractions and try to visit during the least crowded times. Staying calm is the key to getting the most out of your time off.