The Importance of Rest (aka, your excuse to take a nap)

All over my site, I espouse the benefits of sticking with a physical therapy regimen and how much of a difference it will make on your fitness and overall physical and mental well-being. The other end of the fitness commitment spectrum from slacking off and not trying hard enough is trying too hard, and putting in too much time and effort.

“But John!” you say. “Haven’t you said over and over that you need to dedicate yourself 110% to your recovery, and that you should work as hard as you can?”

Well, yes. However, working as hard as you can and dedicating yourself 110% to your recovery process are very different from overworking yourself. Part of Having an optimal recovery plan is having optimal rest. It might seem cray or even counterintuitive to some, but it’s not out of line and not even uncommon to be sleeping upwards of 16 or even 18 hours per day when your body is trying to heal.

Why do you need to sleep so much? Your body does most of its work repairing tissue, muscle, and bone damage as well as growing new cells to replace old ones while you sleep. When you exercise vigorously or have a serious injury to recover from, your body signals that you need to sleep so that it can adequately repair itself. After my accident, I slept or rested almost nonstop for the first two weeks. I didn’t do this because I’m lazy (I’m not saying I’m not); I did this because it was the best thing I could do for myself.

During your recovery process, don’t ever forget how important it is to rest. Resting is on equal footing with your physical therapy, and if you forget the importance of rest and don’t sleep enough your physical therapy won’t be able to have as great an effect as it could if you had properly given your body everything that it needed to heal.

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