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Topic: Body - September 14 2022
The Difference Between Rest & Recovery

As athletes, we practice hard and leave the playing field physically and mentally drained. In order to maintain our competitive capabilities, it is important to incorporate rest and recovery into our schedules. This guide to rest and recovery will help us ensure our bodies are always ready to compete.

By: Nicole Robison

VIS Creator™

& Allison Brager

VIS Expert™

Topic: Body

September 14 2022

As athletes, we know that we cannot push our bodies to the max everyday; we have to give our bodies time to rest and recover. These two words are often used interchangeably, but we talked with VIS Expert™ Dr. Allison Brager to learn about the differences between the two, and why both should be incorporated into any athlete’s training plan. 

The difference between rest and recovery:

 Rest and recovery both promote regrowth, repair, and rejuvenation of biological tissues and systems of the body. The difference is that rest  is considered to be passive, while recovery is active, intentional and reliant on external actions. We schedule time for recovery post-training,  post-competition, and as part of training  cycles. Rest, on the other hand, is more bodily driven. Our bodies naturally allow themselves to enter a state of rest when the conditions are right.  

Maximizing rest:

Rest occurs nightly when we go to sleep, or sometimes in the middle of the afternoon if we find ourselves taking power naps! To maximize rest, we should aim for at least 8 hours of sleep each night. If taking a ‘power nap’, try not to sleep for more than 40 minutes to ensure that your body can still fall asleep at night.

Maximizing recovery: 

Recovery is ongoing throughout each day, and can also be part of a long-term training or competition plan. Recovery practices may include stretching, steady state flow (< 30% of your max on a bike), heat/cold immersion, percussion tools, and even meditation and mindfulness. Prioritize recovery exercises after high intensity training and during off days.

““Rest is necessary to progress as an athlete. As athletes, rest days are hard! We are so used to moving and getting our heart rate near maximal levels on a daily basis... But remember, this is the long term, not short term, game.””

-Dr. Allison Brager, VIS Expert™ and Neurobiologist

Recovery exercises to try:

After training, try recovering by biking on a low setting or using pneumatic compression sleeves like Normatec boots. On an off day, try 20 minutes of breath work or 30 minutes of heat immersion to relax muscles. If you’re looking for individualized measurements of rest and recovery, check out WHOOP, which uses physiological measurements to give users information on their personal recovery and rest needs as a part of their membership. Most importantly, find the recovery practices that work for you and be intentional about incorporating these things, along with good rest, into your daily routine.

Take Action

Try one of the suggested recovery practices and reflect on how you felt afterwards in your VIS Journal!