Why Rest Days Are Important
To reach your fitness goals, you need to train, but you also need rest. When you optimise the ratio of work to rest, you’ll reach your fitness goals faster.
What is a rest day?
A rest day is your day off from training! You can take a break from your regular workout routine to allow your body and mind to recover.
Why are rest days important?
1. Rest prevents injury
It’s common sense that resting is beneficial for injury reduction, but why? Well for starters, rest days prevent overuse. That extends from running to lifting and even walking. If you’re a regular runner, you know how much your legs and feet can take until you just need a day off. If you push it too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and that’s where injuries can happen.
2. Your muscles need rest!
This is likely the first thing you learned about strength training. When you lift weights, you’re essentially tearing muscle fibers. But without a proper period of rest for your immune system to repair and grow the muscle, you’re not going to get the benefit of your training. That’s why you need to vary the muscle groups you engage on staggered days.
3. Your performance will not be effected
In general, it takes your body almost two weeks of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level. So don’t think that taking a day or two off from training will set you back all that hard work you’ve put in.
4. Over-training affects your sleep pattern
Too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of restlessness or on high alert making a good night’s sleep tough to achieve. A telltale sign is an increase in your resting heart rate. Taking those rest days can help bring down your alertness and heart rate, which can help get you a night of sound sleep.
5. Mental edge
From a psychological standpoint, taking a rest period can rekindle your hunger for exercise and help prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be every bit as detrimental as physical fatigue and taking a rest day helps to recharge the psyche.
So what can you do to get your mind set on rest? For starters, you’re going to have to make the mental adjustment to understanding and believing that you can take days off. It’s good for you, for all the reasons listed above.
Just like setting your daily steps/exercise goals, set your rest goals. Plot out a schedule and pick your weekly rest days; one or two days where you limit your activity to allow your body/muscles to recover.
Plot out a schedule and pick your weekly rest days; one or two days where you limit your activity to allow your body/muscles to recover. And don’t forget that active recovery is also hugely beneficial, and a standard routine of stretching or light yoga to improve flexibility and circulation can be especially valuable.