We can sometimes forget that in order for our body to develop and grow it needs time to recover. Men’s Health in their article ‘Do You Need a Rest Day?’ stated that if you don’t rest your body it can’t adapt to the stresses of training and all that extra work could be hindering your progress. So let’s use a sport here to discuss this issue and relay to you, our readers, how important it is to recover properly in order to perform at your optimal level.
One of the toughest sports on the body both in terms of muscle fatigue and injuries is soccer. Recovery after a soccer match or training session is essential. So with that in mind, this article will look at the importance of rest and recovery for soccer players and how you can use the recovery tips in your own training regime.
It is easy to feel that when you are doing nothing you are wasting time. Yet if you exercise and play sport regularly your body will be craving good rest and recovery time. Rest is not only for the physical aspect but also the mental. Overtraining can lead to symptoms such as loss of concentration that are key in competitive sports such as soccer. When the body recovers it replenishes the energy stores and repairs tissue damage. If the body doesn’t get the right amount of time to recover then it will continue to breakdown leading to little or no growth. This will have a knock on effect on the next training session or competitive match giving your opponents the edge.
In their 7 elements of rest and recovery Breaking Muscle list sleep as number 1. Sleep is essential for the body to repair and to ensure that you are resting properly it is best to make sure you are getting the right amount. Breaking muscle came up with four points that can lead to better sleep:
• Sleeping before midnight is proven to be more effective
• Sleep without artificial lights
• Wakeup with the sun if possible
• Cooler temperatures improve quality of sleep
The site also recommends between 7 – 10 hours to get the maximum benefits of sleep.
To see how important sleep is you only have to look at how tightly it is monitored by professional soccer clubs. Champions League soccer news site Betfair tasked their journalist Stephen Tudor to write an article on the modern training requirements of soccer players. He reported that when soccer players get up they have to inform the club’s sport scientist of how the previous night was. We don’t suggest you take it this far but it demonstrates how crucial sleep is to becoming fitter and stronger.
Sometimes it can be hard to evaluate whether you are overtraining. Men’s Fitness created a list of 12 symptoms to look out for if you believe that you might not be resting enough. These include continued muscle soreness past 72 hours. When you exercise you want to push your muscles hard to make them sore, this means that you are creating tiny tears that will increase strength. If you don’t rest your muscles then the tiny tears will increase without repairing leading to extended muscle soreness. Another telltale sign is if you are constantly feeling unwell which could be down to your immune system suffering from overtraining. It can also put your body in a catabolic state where your body breaks down muscle instead of repairing which in turn affects your body’s ability to defend itself.
A soccer season is long and players have to rest to ensure that they are able to perform week in week out. Athletes who play sports like soccer have a tendency to over train. I Sport emphasis in their article on soccer and resting that "resting is training'. To reach your fitness goals and improve performance you have to train hard, but in order to train harder it is essential to allow your body to rest. Just make sure you don’t do too much resting and stop training.