I have been a coach for over 10 years now…
…but recently I’ve started to notice that people appear to be busier than ever! I can see it when my clients walk in the door, through their body language and then through their performance in sessions. It seems that there are a million and one things to do each day and this can take its toll…on your body and your mind!
As a result I have spent more time, in recent years, factoring in key prehab and recovery protocols into sessions to ensure that performance levels remain high and injury levels low. The modern world is a demanding one with more stimulus and information around us than ever before…our training and recovery must consider this if we are to avoid burning out or suffering repeated injuries. As a coach, when you work with professional athletes, there is just as much emphasis put upon recovery as there is upon performance and I think we could learn a lot from this approach.
According to new research from Bupa, despite waking up at 6.30am and going to sleep at 10.40pm, the average person in the UK tries to fit in over 17 ½ hours of activity into that time, with only 1 in 20 opting to properly switch off. Are our lives balancing this energy output with enough rest and recuperation time? The research also shows that over half (54%) of people are now experiencing health problems associated with burn-out such as stress, fatigue, illness or injury.
As a coach working with many people each month, I definitely see this…
…In fact I am constantly telling my clients to get more rest, be kinder to their bodies by focusing on hydration/sleep/nutrition and I even promote the practice of mindfulness – my own meditation habit has made a huge difference to me personally, and I highly advise that others follow suit!
We must consider that we have more information readily available to us via our smartphones as social media and work emails constantly vibrate away in our pocket.
We are the first generation to experience such information overload.
This means that, as a generation, we are in fact far less likely to take time out and press pause once in a while…seemingly there is always another email to answer or another social media post to respond to. The effect of this on our mental and physical health should be a genuine consideration in our lives – we should strive to obtain balance in our lives so that we can enjoy a fuller life with all these tools at our fingertips and not let modern times take over to the detriment of our health and wellbeing.
We live in an amazing game changing technological era…but there are more distractions than ever before!
Having seen how many of us can easily fall into this trap of being overworked, over trained or ‘teched’ out, I am making a couple of changes to my life and advising that my clients and online followers do the same.
In a show of support for hitting the pause button every once in a while I posted this image and didn’t touch my social media channels for 24 hours this week!
I took time out of my hectic schedule to do… well, as little as possible!
Why? Well like most of us I had muscles to repair and regenerate, a busy mind to settle and wanted to get some R&R.. I spent this downtime doing the things I love – hanging out with my loved ones and popping off on a country walk to take in the beautiful nature we have around us…all too easily missed if we never take time to stop and look up at the environment all around! I have to say…it felt pretty awesome and I’ll be doing it again for sure!
This whole approach, in my humble opinion, is not embraced enough in our culture.
Instead we are told that ‘sleeping is cheating’…
…and a machoism of grinding yourself into the ground at work followed by post-work drinks at the bar is a popular way to live particularly in city life. You only need to spend a few minutes scanning the social media landscape to see these themes being promoted time and time again – before long it is easy to think that this is how we all should be living our lives! Don’t get me wrong, we should all enjoy a night out every so often …but only when the right balance is being struck in our lives overall. Taking valuable time out and hitting the pause button once in a while will help us to obtain that balance and with balance comes a more wholesome enjoyment of life. Try it…I dare you!
So how can you include rest, recovery and repair in your life?
I have worked with many people over the years and helped them to obtain the right balance and a recurring theme has always been to start from within – this means starting by developing your internal functions and giving muscles and joints a chance to fully recover in order to fully function. Learning about your body is just as important as getting any treatment that your body may need, which is why seeing a quality health practitioner when the need arises is essential. When I was in my early twenties I ruptured my ACL playing rugby…the fact of the matter was I was playing for 2 teams and most definitely overdoing it. Something had to give and eventually it was my knee during a rugby match. I was extremely lucky in that I had healthcare with Bupa and I saw a consultant within days and once the relevant surgery was completed, I was assigned a Bupa physiotherapist who helped me recover post- operation.
But one of the great things I discovered through working with Bupa is that you can actually access their products and services without the need for health insurance or a contract. You can just pay as you go for everything from physiotherapy to GP appointments – so whether it is just a simple ‘check in’ and body MOT or something more serious, it is pretty easy to strike that balance between fitness and health.
So take the weight off your feet, slow things down and enjoy some time doing the things you love.
Personally I’m going to make sure I get out for my countryside walks every weekend and completely switch off by enjoying the nature around me…but whatever floats your boat will work!
For more information on Bupa pay as you go visit www.bupa.co.uk/_payg