It’s that time of the year we skimmers dread, back to school, back to life, back to reality, and the end of warm summer sessions. I know it can be hard to slow down when the weather is still epic, and all you want to do is continue that skim stoke vibe 24/7, but this is actually the best time of the year to unwind physically and incorporate some “active” rest into the otherwise #skimeverydamnedday routine. (Sorry Igers!!!)
To keep this whole concept simple to understand, there are two basic categories that sport and physical activity are classified as: higher impact or lower impact. If you haven’t already taken a guess, skimboarding is considered a higher impact sport. It is because of the repetitive stress placed on a skimboarder’s bones, muscles, liagments, tendons and body in general caused from repetitive running, jumping, stomping, landing, twisting and torquing movements. When one participates in higher impact activities continuously, on a daily basis, without planned and adequate rest, the risk of potential physical damage to our body increases greatly. Think about it, when you hit the weight room, you have easy days and hard days, and you also have rest days in between workouts. Skimboarding is no different than going to the gym or participating in any other higher impact sport or activity.
So what’s with this “active” rest stuff?
Active rest is a brief, non-traditional resting period that lasts anywhere from a few days to about a week. It is cycled on and off, as required or as the body demands, throughout yearly skim season training and conditioning. Active rest does not mean sitting on your laurels, AKA butt, for the entire week . What I am referring to is slowing down a few notches and pursuing activities that are non-sport specific and lower impact in nature. Some examples of lower impact cardiovascular activities (used for improving heart function) could include walking on the beach, leisure swimming and bike riding, or if preferred and appropriate, anaerobic activities (non-cardiovascular) like pitching lawn darts and horseshoes or playing a round of Frisbee golf. These activities don’t involve placing the same physical repetitive stress on your body that skimming does, like the constant demands that running and jumping create. Active rest should be integrated into your annual skim training plan at least 4 x per year, or approximately once every 3 months, depending on the individual.
Why should I do it?
The goal of active rest is to create balance and equilibrium within the body. When you have a good night’s sleep how do you feel the next day? Fantastic right?! Rest, in general, helps the body repair, rejuvenate and revitalize. If you don’t get enough sleep, you pay the price until you give in and actually give it what it needs; sleep.
Skimboarding can play havoc with the body if you’re out there giving it day after day, due to the higher impact nature of the sport. When are we are physically active, our muscles undergo a mini breakdown effect, better known as the catabolic phase. While at rest or sleeping, our bodies naturally go into an anabolic phase, also known as the repair or restorative effect. (Factors such as nutrition, sleep habits, mental stress and so on, are also co-dependent on recovery from higher impact bouts, but I will only address the issue of active rest within this article). For most of us, avoiding injuries is the key to staying active and healthy. No matter the sport, overtraining and overdoing it are the prime cause for injury, sickness, stress and depression, forcing your body into an unplanned resting period. When this occurs, all the hard work and training can go to waste in as little as two weeks. Within a month, muscular atrophy (loss) is noticeable both functionally and visually.
Besides taking care of the obvious stated, taking a leisurely break will help get the blood flowing throughout the body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to muscles damaged by overexertion. It will aid in repairing and rebuilding the muscles. This process, in turn, will help improve your overall skim performance. You will notice that you will be able to get back on your board with ease after staying away from it for a week, because your muscles will have had the chance to heal and become functionally stronger.
Additionally, practicing some active rest in between non-planned times is a great way to help flush away waste products such as lactic acid that can build up in muscles post sessions. Lactic acid is the immediate tension and burn you feel after ripping it up. It normally lasts for a day or so. However, if you wake up the next day and can’t do simple functional daily movements like sitting on the toilet seat, you know that you have done more damage to your body. This is called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and is usually noticeable 24-48 hours after a hard session. It can last anywhere from a few days to over a week, if you really hit it hard. Active rest is one of the best prescriptions for DOMS, too.
Remember always listen to your body. If you’ve been going hard for a few weeks, or if you are feeling tired, achy, sore or sick, take it easy for a few days. It pays to pay attention to the warning signs. One strong word of caution to the groms or parents reading this article: don’t be fooled into thinking that you don’t need to worry about kids because they’re just kids! Yes it’s true, the younger you are the quicker the body will bounce back, but there are a host of issues such as growth plate damage that need to be factored into entire the equation, giving active rest much more validity, no matter how young or old you are!
Off to play some croquet now…cheerio,
Nancy Plechaty, BHKin
Nancy is a well rounded athlete and avid board sport junkie. Skimboarding is her main passion, but she also enjoys skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing. She has worked in the sport, fitness and recreation industry for a number of years in various capacities. Armed with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics from UBC, Coaching and Instruction Diploma from Langara College, and holds the title of a BCRPA Supervisor of Fitness Leaders, she possesses a wealth of both knowledge and experience. Currently, she is working for Sport BC coordinating events and programs and teaches regular aquafit classes. From time to time she teaches weight training courses and athletic workshops and also works as weight room supervisor mentoring personal trainers and Human Kinetic students.
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