A workout is healthy and brings results only if the body is given enough time to regenerate. The body adjusts and fitness levels increase not during the actual workout but after it. We should therefore consciously schedule enough time for our body to relax.
Furthermore, healthy sport should not add any more physical stress to our daily pressures but should instead relieve it. Each person and each body is unique. So also is the time required for the body to relax. With respect to how much time the body needs to relax, here are a few recommendations. It is generally recommended that one day be left free after an intense workout session. There are, of course, other possibilities, such as a fitness schedule where we work on different muscles on different days so that we can exercise on two consecutive days without loss in performance. However, any such schedule should be prepared by a professional. Besides these recommendations, you should always be alert to what your own body is telling you.
Stress is the pressure that manifests itself as the strains, anxieties or vexations that we are subject to on a daily basis. Job pressure, family demands or fear of failure are just a few examples. They can cause physical or mental stress. The latter is more common in our society. However, stress should not be viewed as completely bad. Some stress is good for us - known as "eustress" or positive stress, it ensures that we remain motivated and engaged. Distress or negative stress is however another matter. If we are under distress for a long period, our health and fitness come under risk.
Sport helps relieve mental stress through physical activity. Being in nature - especially while engaging in a sporting activity - is an excellent way to relieve stress. A pleasant walk is more than sufficient. So is a vigorous hike where we take a break from our daily routine and do something completely different, something nearer to our true needs. This is gaining more and more importance in our fast-paced world.
A moderate amount of endurance training is particularly well suited. Even if it sounds paradoxical, when you come home from work tired and stressed out after a long day the thing to do is to put on your walking shoes. Thirty minutes of slow walking and you will be back home refreshed. Walking is an excellent way to break down the stress hormones that build up over the entire day. Slow walking demonstrably reduces the production of stress hormones which are connected to feelings of stress.
However, it is important not to be over-ambitious in sport and have it cause even more stress. This is especially true for people who are already under stress in their jobs and private lives. This happens when we constantly compare ourselves with others for instance. The physical stress caused by sport is normally not negative stress.
Regeneration does not mean being completely at rest or inactive. It can, in fact, be a fixed component of our fitness regime - as a separate regeneration exercise. You can work, for example, with exercise bands, foam rollers and massage balls. Self-massages and various stretching exercises help the body heal micro-injuries caused to muscles during workouts and help restore our energy levels. Massage stimulates blood circulation and helps the body regenerate better. Taking a sauna after a workout relaxes and loosens up the body. These activities work against stress. A type of exercise that is especially good for regeneration and equilibrium is Yoga.
Lack of regeneration can cause excess stress, thereby leading to tenseness and hardening of muscles.