Which Comes First — Exercise or Rest?

For an entire week after we went to Yellowstone National Park (90 minute drive from our home in Southern Montana), my four year old has been asking to be tucked in like a geyser, so he can explode out in the morning.

This got me thinking about storing energy and releasing it.

What happens when we attempt to release energy without storing enough?

I’ve often thought of rest as something that comes after exercise and energy expenditure.

Rest as a reward.

Sometimes I reserve rest for after exercise.

Sometimes that fits.

Sometimes I find myself taking a bath before I workout and then a shower later on.

Is that weird?

I used to think so.

As a mama of two small children, it is no small miracle that I can have a bath and a shower in the same day, but that’s another story involving routines.

Here’s the typical scene in my house after lunch.

My two year old goes for a 90 minute nap, my four year old gets to watch one hour of TV. I feel sleepy, but I want to exercise. Which is going to boost my energy? I wonder. When I’m unsure, I take a bath for 15–20 minutes and sometimes, I am ready for a workout after. Both/And.

Some days my body is clear and ready for a workout after lunch, so I go for it and it all flows. On the days I’m not sure, the bath helps me decide. And there are days I sink into the bath and don’t get a workout, but am sprinkled with energy that afternoon, evening and the next day. Reward!

When I ignore the need to rest, the day drags on.

Just like a hot spring (and my four year old), we store and release energy constantly. Circadian rhythm is the waves of storing and releasing energy that happens in our bodies every day.

There is a natural ebb and flow of energy.

There is only so much energy available.

You can only use so much before a deficit occurs.

Yet many of us try to squeeze as much energy out of the human body as possible every day, like a sponge and crash into sleep at night.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Sleep can’t clean up all the messes of the day.

If you are looking for more energy in your life, observe the waves of the day and allow your system to rest when needed. When you choose rest instead of pushing, your energy tank refills instead of going into debt. Energy loans accumulate into illness.

In my anatomy and sleep programs, I help you tune into your body. When you listen to the signals and trust yourself, you can achieve a level of health and wellness that will sparkle your life full of joy.

Article Originally Published on www.BeverlyHosford.com

Image from Yellowstone National Park by yours truly

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Beverly Hosford

I’m a fitness writer, editor and educator. I love living in the mountains of Montana with my husband, son and two pups. www.BeverlyHosford.com