Proper rest and relaxation is an important component of fitness, which is easy to be overlooked by most. Resting the body at regular intervals is a must to avoid injuries due to overtraining. And, relaxation after each workout is important to ensure that the body recovers that much faster and better for the next workout. Effective relaxation also greatly enhances the 'feel good factor' after each workout. To a lot of fitness specialists the time taken by the body to recover after physical exertion is an important measurement of physical fitness. We know that during physical exertion various body parameters, like the respiratory rate, the heart rate and the blood pressure go up. After the workout, it takes time for all these parameters to come back to normal. The shorter this time, better a person's fitness standards are taken to be.
In case of intense anaerobic activity too, there is a lot of tissue breakdown and muscle fatigue. Once again, it takes time for the body to recover. This recovery implies flushing out the lactic acid from the muscle tissues by the blood and building up of the broken tissues once again. In both, aerobic and unaerobic activities, the faster you recover, the sooner can you get into the next workout of the same (or more) intensity. An effective way to help hasten this process of recovery is the ability to relax the body and mind. Physiologically, when the skeletal muscles in the body are in a state on tension or contraction, they cause the blood vessels around them to constrict. The blood circulation slows down because fo this, and it slows down the flushing off of the accumulated lactic acid and broken tissues. A slower circulation also means that the nutrient exchange for the tissues is slower. Muscles that are relaxed on the other hand, allow better blood circulation, thus enabling faster recovery. Psychologically, exhaustion of the mind is much more debilitating than that of the body. No matter how exhausted the body, if the mind is in the right state, the body can still be made to perform. But a stressed out mind exhausts even the fittest of bodies in no time.
Relaxation Techniques - Guidelines