The value of rest

Resting the two active parts: the mind and the feet. (Photo Maree Barkla)

Resting the two active parts: the mind and the feet. (Photo Maree Barkla)

When we are young we tend to think we are invincible and capable of almost anything and any input that comes from wisdom of age is not always acceptable for such times.  In the youthful stage of life when we are told something it is natural to think that we know better and need to experience this for ourselves as we all know this is what life is all about.

Read a quote the other day from Mark Twain “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”My father has always been telling me to rest and slow down, something I have come to appreciate as sound advice and wisdom of age and the path to longevity. 

As cyclists we tend to look at the levels of training and intensity of participation. We have a reasonable handle on how to keep well hydrated; we are very conscience on the need in keeping a balanced intake of food to fuel the body.  We monitor the heart rate and learn the value of being able to breathe affectively for sustained performance.

There is another side of the coin that needs as much attention and to be kept in balance and proportion to remaining fit and healthy and this is knowing how and when to experience affective resting as a routine.  Without rest we run the risk of fatigue and burn out which takes a longer path for recovery.

For my way of thinking there is active rest and passive rest and these under pin the balance of being active and healthy making us capable in sustaining an even level of performance and better manage the peak performance target when we require them and not have long valleys in getting prepared. Learning to get the balance of proper rest patterns of both active and passive can be assisted when we come to the realisation that all things are permissible but not everything is beneficial.

Active rest can be dropping back the intensity and keeping things at a lower exertion level of the heart and lung. Finding such a peaceful place to be in can sometime be found in the solitude of being alone where the competitive edge is diminished.

Some may well see going out for a night with a few mates and having a few drinks to relax as being a method of resting. Some may think of a change to the routine on the old adage “a change is as good as a holiday” as being a form of rest. We come to appreciate that not all rest is beneficial while with the mates is fun and low key the hydration and diet habits may well be compromised and there is a fair chance that the passive rest patterns will be lost.

Cycling is dependent on maintaining health discipline and patterns.  A late night can have a dramatic effect on the body’s ability to perform and while we may punish the body to perform as we may expect, the piper will need to be paid somewhere down the track.

Passive rest is not just having sound sleep patterns and regimes although very important as a base to work from. Most cyclists are early risers to get their training in which is a challenge for those that burn the candle late into the night and sometime into the early morning not necessarily doing anything stressful but being tired out enough to get what they think is a sound sleep.  Passive rest can be reading a book or watching a movie as long as they produce a peaceful outcome and don’t stir up the thinking patterns and emotions.

Rest is not to be under estimated in the overall scheme of a healthy approach to cycling life that is so full of stress and high expectation of being a performance driven society.  Sense we have a lot we could learn from other cultures on developing affective rest methods that become integral to our active life styles such as that of a good farmer knowing the value of fallow soil prior to sowing a seed crop.

See you on the road soon God willing


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