When you’re in an exercise groove, sometimes it’s hard to take formal rest days. You work so hard to get where you are, so why risk undoing everything by taking days off?
Well, you may be surprised to learn that rest days are just as essential to your training as the workout itself. In fact, it’s during the days of rest that your muscles have the chance to recover, which in the long run leaves you stronger and better optimized to get the results you are after.
So how exactly does rest benefit you? PREVENTS INJURY Rest days prevent overuse injuries by staggering workouts.
GIVES MUSCLES TIME TO RECOVER Without proper rest to repair and grow muscle, you end up taxing your immune system, which means you’re not going to get the full benefit of your training.
INCREASES PERFORMANCE Rest allows the body to restore energy and build strength. A few days of rest with not affect the progress you’ve made. It takes approximately two weeks of inactivity to reverse exercise progress.
IMPROVES SLEEP Poor sleep could be the result of over-training. Too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of restlessness, which can affect the quality of your sleep. Taking rest days helps to bring down your heart rate so that you can relax enough to get a good night’s sleep.
BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNITY Over-training can have negative effects on your immunity because your body has to remain in a constant state of trying to repair itself. Your body needs rest to properly repair. Without it, you are more susceptible to illness and injury.
INCREASES MENTAL EDGE Mental fatigue can be just as detrimental as physical fatigue. Taking a rest day here and there can give you a mental kick to help increase your hunger for exercise because it prevents burnout. Here’s how you make rest a part of your routine…
In order to give your body the proper rest between workouts, it is important to plan rest days the same way you plan your workouts. So if you are someone with a lot of experience working out, you should schedule in one to two rest days a week, and if you are just starting out, your rest days should fall between each workout.
While rest days do mean that you skip your workout, it doesn’t mean a break from eating right and taking care of yourself. On your rest day, you should continue to eat well and hydrate.
Here are some things to consider for your next rest day:
Sleep The whole point of a rest day is to give your body the time to recuperate, so if possible, aim for a solid eight hours of sleep.
Eat the Rainbow Get those micronutrients in! Heavy training days tap key nutrient stores. On your rest days, while it is important to get fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in be sure you are eating plenty of antioxidant and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables to help with muscle tissue recovery.
Hydrate WATER! Hydrating during your rest day is just as important as during and after exercise. Your body requires ample amounts of water to maintain optimal performance.
What do you like to do for yourself on your rest days?