When discussed in a scientific context, regeneration is understood as the process of renewal and restoration of damaged or missing parts of the body. This can range from cells to tissues to organs and even to entire body parts of plants or animals. As humans, we physically see our body regenerate all of the time through the form of hair and skin regrowth, bones healing after being broken, and scar tissue building up and aiding in the healing of injured portions of the body. Other animals have the abilities to regenerate entire organs or even regrow limbs or tails. The body is truly an amazing thing and, when given the opportunity, it frequently delivers an incredible adaptive response. The same goes for health and fitness. When working out, maintaining a full-time job, spending time with family and friends, taking care of tasks around the house, and dealing with unexpected circumstances, we tend to constantly have our foot on the gas.
Although it may seem counterproductive at the time, finding balance and allowing yourself to take your foot off of the pedal to slow down will actually provide you with the regeneration and reboot that you may need to continue living a high-performance lifestyle. As we’ve discussed previously, stresses are all around us. Nearly everything that we surround ourselves with on a daily basis causes some type of stress on the body. Work, family, friends, school, working out, creating a healthy relationship with nutrition, planning for the future, and countless other parts of our daily lives are actually stressors on us. Not all stress is bad but when good and bad stresses pile themselves on one another, at times it can become overwhelming and create a setback for us.
This is where regeneration comes into play. You shouldn’t wait for that overwhelming build-up to take place, but rather begin incorporating regeneration tactics into your regular routine to help flatten out stress levels and allow yourself to take a step back now so you can continue further later.
We live in a world where we rely so much on instant gratification and if we don’t reap the benefits immediately, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around why we would even waste our time. The world is always changing and speeding up to provide us with more, faster. Social media, internet, text messaging, and many other things have contributed to this issue. Yes, they are incredibly convenient and provide us with access to endless amounts of content, but they can also cause a skewed mindset for some of us. Patience and trusting the process of a well-thought out plan will provide us with so much more than impulsively acting and trying to attack only what is directly in front of us, regardless of how that may impact us further down the road.
It may not be the glorious thing to do because you may not recognize large improvements on that exact day, but regeneration allows your body to heal, regroup, and recover in order to continue in a productive manner for a longer period of time. When it comes to health and fitness, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the aesthetics of who looks the best, who lifts the most, or who is the skinniest. In reality, longevity should be the centralized goal for all of us. Setting personal bests should be just that: PERSONAL bests. It should be you against yourself. Did you get better today? That may involve pushing yourself a little further than last workout, or even taking some load off so you can improve your form, or simply feeling strong and confident in yourself to get through a workout without allowing a negative thought run through your mind. So many little decisions come our way on a daily basis and if we can get 1% better every single day and take action to consciously do even the smallest of things to better ourselves, over time those miniscule improvements will add up. In the future, that will allow us to look back and notice how much we’ve grown, all while simply focusing on little changes on a daily basis.
Particularly with fitness, we may feel that if we don’t work out or sweat, we aren’t being productive, which is not necessarily true. Although it is very common and normal to crave and chase the endorphins and exhaustion of a sweaty, physically difficult workout, that isn’t the most effective and definitely not the only way to improve your health and wellness. We have created a fictitious idea in our brain that if we aren’t gasping for air and drenched in sweat, we didn’t have a productive workout. We need to rewire our thought process and forget about that. Productivity, when dealing with exercise and fitness, is so much more than highly intense workouts. When I program a client’s workout regimen, my goal is not to have them lying on the ground trying to catch their breath. Sure, we do different versions of cardiovascular exercise to improve heart function and blood pressure and to strategically burn fat but the goal is not to completely wipe them out. My goals for them align with their personal goals, and we create a program that gets them to their goals in an efficient, enjoyable route. Will they accomplish their goals by next week? Probably not, but my job is to create an environment where they feel safe and comfortable, while improving and having a good time. This allows them to enjoy the process of working out. When you enjoy something, you tend to stick with is for a longer period. If you enjoy working out and it doesn’t become a burden, you will continue those healthy behaviors and progress towards your goals much quicker, while adopting healthy lifestyle choices that can stick with you forever. Whether or not I do your programming for you, your exercise routine should be one that includes exercises, volumes, and intensities that reflect what you are trying to accomplish, but also should be things you enjoy doing. Make working out fun. Once you lose that enjoyment and pleasure, it becomes a difficult hobby to upkeep.
Another way to sustain longevity in fitness is to find time to self-reflect and regroup outside of the gym. Exercise and health are so much more than just spending time in the gym. Improving your physical and mental health comes from what is happening on the inside so much more than what is shown on the exterior. We all have different methods of slowing down and it is important to find what works best for you. Once you figure out your method, ensure that you incorporate that on a daily or weekly basis so you find some balance in your world where you can hit that pause button. Different forms of yoga, Pilates, or meditation are common types of regeneration activities, as well as reading, writing, setting time aside specifically for conscious reflection or prayer, and even allowing yourself to obtain proper amounts and quality sleep. The list goes on and on. You’ll notice that the majority of these exercises are focused on breathing and internal conversations with yourself. Your mental and physical well-being take root between your own two ears. Creating a healthy space in your mind that provides you with a positive outlook on the different situations tossed your way will allow you to thrive when it comes to your physical fitness. You will build confidence, focus on self-improvement, become an even better version of yourself, and create well-rounded relationships with those around you.
This ability to slow down, reset, and regenerate can be difficult to fit into our busy lives because we may not see it as the most important thing at that specific time but it is crucial in make sure we are spending time on ourselves, as it will help us accomplish more down the road. Before finishing this article, I want you to sit back and think; really think about what it is you can do to allow yourself to press pause in your hectic life and to provide yourself with a few minutes to an hour every single day to regroup. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming every single day but consciously scheduling time into your routine to take care of yourself is essential. In this sense, it is okay to be selfish. We deserve to be the best version of ourselves, and in order to do that and thrive in the long haul, we need to respect ourselves through giving ourselves the same time and effort we would for a relationship with a loved one.
*Take 3-5 min here to really think about what allows YOU to regenerate. Write those down and promise yourself that you’ll begin incorporating those into your routine. Why? Because you deserve that time that you’ll be giving yourself. We all do.
We live such busy lives and we have become so reliant on instant gratification. Everything is now so fast and rushed that we seem to have forgotten about ourselves in this whole thing. Regroup, reset, and allow for your body and mind to become rejuvenated. We can only achieve as much as we allow ourselves to and if we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves, we are setting a cap on what that limit is. Allowing this regeneration will not be a setback, but it will be a very temporary pause to your busy life so you have a chance to recognize regroup and continue on, instead of becoming complacent. Reset to keep moving.