Our expert says:
You're right on most counts in your question - about the need for exercise, the sleep, your fatigue, and even what I would suggest! But it's not that simple, I know. First of all, 9 hours is not necessarily the problem - elite atheltes often do 30 hours a week and they cope fine. They're obviously pros, and all they do in between is relax and sleep, whereas we can't do that. For us, exercise is the one thing that is controllable, and so that's why you have to look at it as part, not the focus of, your daily life.
Now, in terms of what you need to maintain your current form...well, I don't know, because it doesn't seem you really have a goal. ANd that's a big issue - why are you training? I think it would help you to find a goal, a purpose behind your training that you might follow moving forward. Maybe it's time to pick a 10km running race, or a cycling event, or something, and then use that to focus your training. THen, hopefully, you'll recognize that a rest day is PART of the bigger picture. At the moment, you're just drifting and so there's no place for rest, because you don't know where you're trying to get to. So my advice is to get a goal, and then get onto a programme for that goal. That will help a lot.
You probably need 5 days a week of training, for between 45 and 60 minutes a day. That's the guideline, according to the people who study this. However, that doesn't work for many people - like I said, the elite athlete gets 10 times this, and if you enjoy training, you can easily double it. So don't worry about numbers, just rather look at harnessing whatever mental energy it is that is driving you to train yourself into exhaustion. If you can do that, then you'll solve much of the issue. Other than this, it's a decision - if you want to relax, then relax. If you want to lose that feeling of desperation, then you kind of have to just do it! I know it's not that simple, but that's where speaking to someone might help. I really would suggest it.
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