Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Study Spotlight: Physical Recovery, Mental Detachment and Sleep as Predictors of Injury and Mental Energy

By: Joel Luedke

Exercise can be a great form of mental detachment from your busy life.  It can revive you with energy and really help your body get into an optimal state.  You can however take that overboard and all of the sudden the thing you were going to use to detach can be all consuming.  This study takes a look at how being able to detach yourself from physical activity can help you both mentally and physically.

What They Did:

Researchers did a survey guided by the Demand-Induced Strain Compensation Recovery Model of 161 recreational athletes.  What researchers were looking for as how people responded to physical recovery, mental detachment and sleep in injury rates and mental energy.  Recreational athlete were a previously unstudied population in regards to these factors.

What They Found:
Results showed that being able to mentally detach was related to both physical health and mental well-being.  Being able to mentally detach was strongly related to mental energy, more so than to injury.  It was also positively related to sleep quality and amount of sleep as well.

What It All Means: 
These results may not seem overly surprising, at least they weren't to me, but then I started thinking more about the actual application Mentally detaching from work and not taking things home with you  has been shown to be very helpful in helping with mental health and sleep quality.  Everyday people can use recreational sports and exercise as a 'release' from work and a form of detachment.

When people can potentially get themselves in trouble is when they begin to focus on the external activity too much and they aren't able break themselves away from those activities.  People can use these activities as a release and have them take over and then that can affect their ability to avoid injury and drain their mental injury.

The take home point is don't let something (exercise) that is supposed to be a release from mental stress become the focal point of more stress.  Allow yourself to mentally detach from these activities and also physical recovery in order to get the most benefits.

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