As an athlete, reading is one of my favorite modes of recovery from training (sleeping wins first place, but reading is a close second). I sit, I relax, I de-stress, I sleep better. I definitely haven’t read as much as I like to until recently, but with some extra time on my hands from other changes I’ve made in my life, it has become much more prominent.
Now, you may not be an avid reader, but I am. I love to read all kinds of books. I’m not always in the mood for certain types of books, but that’s why I usually have a pile of 5-6 different books on my nightstand, with probably 3 started at any given time. And then another on a table in my living room. And probably one on my island too. They’re also always laying around my house as I try to remember to bring a book to a friend that wants it next or loaned it to me in the first place.
I read books for entertainment, for learning, for bettering myself, for teaching, and on and on. Books about people, coaching, Olympic lifting, anatomy, nutrition, mental health, and so on. Some are good for reading for long spurts of time, others are better for short spurts of time. Some are good for high mental capacity, others for times of being almost brain dead, like after a big day of training in the gym.
But how or why READING FOR RECOVERY???
Well, what do you look like when you read? Usually I’m sitting in my glider (yes, I’m a mom and I’m masters age in weightlifting, so I LOVE relaxing and gliding!) or I’m almost horizontal in my (*my husband’s*) recliner. My head is resting on the back of the chair, my feet are up, and my arms are resting on my body. Basically I’m only moving my hands to turn pages.
I’m also usually covered in a blanket and all toasty warm. I know there’s arguments about using hot or cold implements for recovery, but this isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about that super relaxed feeling you get when you’re warm and cozy. More relaxed = Less stressed = RECOVERY!
And of course if you’re reading before going to bed, that means you’re not looking at the screen of your phone or your TV or your tablet or your computer, and your brain is naturally getting ready to sleep. That blue light from your screen can make it harder to fall asleep AND cause a more fitful sleep. That will be the topic of another post though. My point is, reading before bed means better sleep which also means better recovery from training! Shocking, I know!
(I’ve also heard that reading puts some people to sleep for naps. I am not one of those lucky people, but I know someone who is, and I am jealous of her napping capabilities. One day. )
If you don’t read I would highly suggest buying or borrowing a book or two, especially if you’re looking for ways to recover from whatever training you do. I always think that two or more books is the best bet, because then you have options based on your mood and mental capacity.
And now you have another tool for your recovery toolbox.
But honestly, reading is also just good for your brain.
(Says the English teacher.)