Rest and recovery can come in many forms from the obvious getting a good nights sleep or having a day off to simply allowing yourself a couple of hours to do something different and not think about your work or your training.
Both training and choreography are becoming increasingly challenging, pushing the boundaries of performers athleticism. This increased demand can put a lot of stress on the body and without the proper recovery this can turn into fatigue or overtraining where the body will not longer adapt to what is required of it.
So what do we mean by recovery?
The most obvious suggestion and yet probably the lowest priority to many people, if there is work to be done, moves to practice or netflix to watch then people can be more than happy to not go to sleep until 12/1am. Performers need approximately 8 hours of sleep every night depending on the current intensity and volume of physical activity going on. Complete sleep helps your body repair tissue damaged through activity and potentially improve motor performance, which would help movement efficiency and improve performance.
Complete rest (not sleep)
This is time off, a day, a week, a month. Time away from your focused physical training can give the body a chance to repair tissue damage. It can also give your yourself time to relax and enjoy something different which can give you a refresh.
Active rest is taking a break from your main focus of physical training but still remaining active at a lower intensity. Walks, light jog, light swimming, yoga are all examples of ways you can keep your body moving but in a way that will help the body rest from your core training.
This is a position great for a little refresh if you are flagging at lunch time. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent, arms across the chest and eyes closed. This is a biomechanically efficient position promoting good spinal alignment that can ease tension in the muscles.
If you often find you are running on fumes or you are finding its taking longer and longer for your muscles to recover after training you may want to have a close look at your rest and recovery. If you find it hard in-between classes, rehearsals, homework, work or whatever you have got going on to have a little me time, make it a task you set yourself. Give yourself 30-60 minutes where you are doing something completely for yourself, away from everything you are supposed to be doing and see how you feel afterwards, and let me know in the comments below!