Part 2: Rest and Recovery
Over the past couple of years I began to adopt a more active lifestyle. On average I teach 5–7 yoga classes a week, train Jiu jitsu 3 times a week and rock climb 3–4 times a week. Depending on how difficult the week has been I try to squeeze in a couple of rest days. With only seven days in a week minus at least one for a rest day it often means that I am doubling or even tripling up on my physical activity each day. Although my body seems to have been adjusting to the increased levels of activity, there are definitely days when my muscles and body as a whole will feel a little extra sore and or exhausted — which is another reason why floating caught my attention; recovery and rest.
By no means am I a professional athlete, but I have read about several pros, in different sports adding floating to their training/recovery regime so I was really intrigued by this benefit. In my last blog I briefly touched on how the density of the water in the tank creates an anti-gravity like experience where your entire body is able to relax. Reduced effects of gravity can have a positive impact on our circulatory system as our heart and blood circulation becomes more efficient, which in turn allows our injuries to receive more blood flow.
Another point to note is that as our bodies relax, it releases endorphins. Endorphins are sometimes referred to as “natures pain killers” — which I am sure you can imagine is quite helpful for someone focusing on the recovery of muscle pain and soreness. Personally, the combination of sensory deprivation and my body relaxing brought me heightened sense of muscle and overall body awareness. I noticed the areas where I was holding extra tension and knew that I would need to focus more on those areas. Most of the time I try and float on my rest days as I feel it really enhances my recovery and rest.
Have you ever fallen asleep or taken a nap where once you’ve woken up you felt like you had lost all sense of time, you weren’t quite sure when you looked at the time if it was 7PM (10 mins after you had fallen asleep) or 7AM the next day but you felt incurably rested? This is how I feel after floating. I know that my float was only an hour long, but I feel like I just woke up from a full night of sleep, well rested and ready to take on another full week of physical activity.
Rest Is a huge part of recovery not only for professional athletes, but for anyone recuperating from your average day to day work outs and injuries (I’ll touch more on pain and injuries in one of my upcoming blogs). Since yoga and climbing are part of my job, there is a limit as to how much I can actually reduce my activity level each week. Over training can impact sleep, and lack of sleep and rest can negatively impact athletic performance and increase risks of injuries. Thus rest and recovery have become more and more important to me to not only minimize the risk of injuries but overall recovery. However due of the nature of rock climbing and participating in a full contact sport such as Brazilian jiu jitsu coping with pain and injuries often comes with the territory.
This is one of my favourite reasons as to why I float: rest, recovery and reducing the risk of injury.