Rest Days Are The Best Days – Why Resting Is Just as Important as Going Hard

Did you know that April only has one week with 5 working days? Are you taking full advantage of that opportunity to regain some control over your schedule? Are you trying to fit too much into your public holiday and not maximising the time?
April is a fantastic month to reassess how the first quarter of the year has gone and implement some changes to your routine to maximise training, sleeping, family or work habits. By now, most people have let a few unhealthy habits creep into daily life and I believe April is the best time to weed them out. I like to RESET and refocus our energy towards our goals in April, so here are some tips and tricks on HOW to utilise the public holidays coming up! 

What can we do?

RESET is the key word; we best move forwards by looking back at the start.
REFLECT: Take a look back on the past 3 months and see what worked, and more importantly, what didn’t work for you.
EVALUATE: Are the goals you set in line with your priorities and what needs to change?
SIMPLIFY: Make it an achievable challenge relative to your situation, small steps lead to big actions.
ESTABLISH: Tweak your plan to make it work better for you and help decrease any barriers.
TIMEYou need to block out time to achieve your goals. Make an appointment  with yourself in your diary to make sure you are prioritising you.
I encourage you to use the public holidays and the above framework to set yourself up for the rest of the year. This rest and reset will enable you to move forwards with a clear focus!
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By Rachael Kent | Exercise Physiologist 

Foundations / Habits – Behaviours that lead to Success

“Making a choice that is 1% better or 1% worse is insignificant in the moment. But over the span of moments that make up a lifetime, these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be.” – James Clear (Author of Atomic Habits)

It’s no surprise that our habits make up who we are as a person and go on to shape our identity. The compound interest of our habits lead to the actualisation or failure of reaching our personal goals. That being said, let’s explore some easy habits that you could incorporate into your daily life. 


Stairs over elevators
A small yet easy hack, which you would have no doubt heard of is to strive to take the stairs over the lifts and escalators where possible. This will help you to simply burn more calories while also keeping your knees and hips strong through constant exposure to loading. Our primary tips when using the stairs are to try to keep your knee in line with your foot (rather than letting it collapse inwards), and not to push through pain that is either reproduced or aggravated when using the stairs. 

Picking up the pace
Current physical activity guidelines by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity; or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (WHO, 2020). This, of course, can be performed via multiple bouts throughout the week. In addition to this, WHO also recommends 10K steps on a daily basis as a good proxy for physical health. However, it’s not necessarily how many steps to you but rather the cadence. Therefore, by walking slightly faster than usual, you are checking off both boxes. Faster walking will increase your heart rate while also allowing you to be more time efficient. Several observational studies have shown that faster walkers have longer life spans. Our only caveat is to ensure that you prioritise safety and be careful if it is raining or if there is uneven paving. 

Optimising sleep hygiene
A good night’s rest goes a long way, as we’ve all experienced a lack of sleep. Sleep hygiene is the current buzz around town. As we recognise how multifactorial healthcare is, the importance of sleep quality and duration continue to become non-negotiable. In adults 7.5-8 hours of good quality sleep is recommended on a per night basis (Chaput et al., 2018; Walker, 2017). Several studies have reinforced that a good sleep schedule lowers your risk of cancer, diabetes, dementia, heart attacks and strokes, all while enhancing your memory, alertness, skin, immune function, pain and mood. It really all sounds too good to be true. Below are proven methods on how to optimise your sleep hygiene:

– Consistency is key: barring the occasional late night, try to sleep and wake up at a set time. Just be aware that the above benefits tend to blossom after at least 6 weeks of consistency (Worley, 2018).

– Keep your room dark, quiet and cool to minimise disruptions and increase melatonin release to assist in putting you to sleep.

– Avoid screen exposure 2 hours prior to bed and 1 hour after waking up. Natural light exposure after waking is recommended to reset your circadian rhythm (Blume et al., 2019), as it has been throughout the lifespan of our species. Reading prior to sleep is much more effective than falling asleep watching TV or browsing our phone. 

– A routine of relaxing habits prior to bedtime will ensure a smoother wind-down process: Meditating, stretching, breathing techniques, yoga and taking a warm bath are all great strategies to try. 

– Avoid caffeine and alcohol prior to bed-time (we can forgive the odd party or dinner with friends): Caffeine has an average half-life of five to seven hours (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research, 2001). This means that a coffee at 2pm will still be in your system close to bed-time and potentially affect the quality of your REM (random eye movement) sleep. Alcohol is especially disruptive to REM sleep (Colrain et al., 2014). 

Showing up
It’s easy to exercise or train when you feel good, but it’s actually crucial to show up when you don’t feel like it. By showing up you are strengthening your identity towards that behaviour. The next time you feel unmotivated or are finding it difficult to show up, even just arriving at the gym and performing 1 set or putting your sport shoes on and going for a short walk will go a long way in the grand scheme of achieving your health and wellbeing goals. Remember, “If you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the time you’re done” (Cear, 2018).

By Veeral Patel, Senior Physiotherapist 




Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Penguin Random House.

Chaput, J. P., Dutil, C., & Sampasa-Kanyinga, H. (2018). Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this?. Nature and science of sleep, 10, 421–430.

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research. (2001). Caffeine for the Sustainment of Mental Task Performance: Formulations for Military Operations (2nd ed., pp. 33-72). National Academies Press (US).

Colrain, I. M., Nicholas, C. L., & Baker, F. C. (2014). Alcohol and the sleeping brain. Handbook of clinical neurology, 125, 415–431.

World Health Organization. (2020). WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. World Health Organization.

Blume, C., Garbazza, C., & Spitschan, M. (2019). Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood. Somnologie : Schlafforschung und Schlafmedizin = Somnology : sleep research and sleep medicine, 23(3), 147–156.

Walker, M. (2017). Why we sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams. Scribner.

Worley S. L. (2018). The Extraordinary Importance of Sleep: The Detrimental Effects of Inadequate Sleep on Health and Public Safety Drive an Explosion of Sleep Research. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 43(12), 758–763.