So how does a gym rat turn into a couch slug? Three words: DOING TOO MUCH
Two weekends ago I traveled out of state, and the first thing I did upon arriving home at 12 am was write a blog about the trip. Bright and early the next morning I went straight to work teaching a classroom full of 30 kids, after I went to my night job and of course I had to squeeze in my daily exercise. The week continued on this way with a steady balance of two jobs, 9 college units, and exercise. Finally, Friday comes and after a long day with my students the only reward I can think of was the gym- I completed a strenuous exercise and felt great. I went to my favorite vegan macrobiotic restaurant in the Bay to top of my night. While, there I felt a sore throat coming on- a few hours later it was still there, the next day I was congested- and it continued to progress into a full blown cold.
I should first say I am the last person to get sick- heck I even lived in West Africa for over a year without Malaria meds and didn’t get sick once. My health is usually great. Which was an indicator that my body was telling me to “slow down, your doing too much”. I hear this voice often, yet it is difficult to listen to when I have students who depend on me, classes I strive to excel in, friends I miss, another job on the side, and my sanity: exercise. All of these things are a priority and each of them rest in the number one space of my things to do list- so you see slowing down is almost inconceivable.
What I have learned in my registered dietitian training is that strenuous exercise temporarily represses the immune system. After exercise the bodies systems are focused solely on recovery, rebuilding, and repair. Hence why I became sick. I was working non-stop on as little as 6 hours of sleep. Although, I eat healthy, overworking myself limited my bodies ability to recover. In addition, I’ve learned that our bodies recover while at rest. Thus, if we don’t allot time for rest then there is little space for repair and recovery to occur.
With this new information I spent the entire week taking it easy and logging in more sleep time. I spent this Friday with my students and rather than going to the gym after I decided to go home take a hot shower, kick back with a fresh green smoothie and my favorite magazine.