When it comes to fitness we focus so much of our time on planning our workouts and meals and reaching our goals that we must remember that rest is part of training. Letting your body and muscles rest is just as important as your workouts and what you eat. Here’s why:
See the results your work hard for : Working the same muscle groups back to back will not give you results b/c you are not allowing them to repair and rebuild. Muscle and strength building occur on rest days. Your muscle fibers are literally broken down on training day and repair and grow stronger on your rest day.
Restore your body : After workouts your body needs to rebuild its energy stores (glycogen) and repair those damaged tissues.
Guard against injury : Without rest you are setting yourself up for injury, especially if you do the same exercise consistently. That is why cross training is a good way to avoid injury as well. Giving your body a rest will allow your body to heal minor injuries that without rest could turn into bigger injuries.
Big injuries = a lot of rest days you didn’t plan on.
Avoid overtraining : Overtraining is something that commonly occurs and if ignored can really reek havoc on your body. Symptoms of overtraining are trouble sleeping, depression, joint pain, appetite changes and even lack of performance in your workout. These are true signs that your body needs a break!
Give your mind a break! : Rest from exercise is also great for your mind. Take time to enjoy life and not your heart rate or size of your thighs. Enjoy being healthy and fit!
So how much rest does your body need? It really depends on the person and how long they have been exercising. I have been exercising for a long time, so I usually take one day off a week – usually Sunday. However, if I had a grueling workout on Monday and feel very sore, I will make Tuesdays workout a little easier. Bottom line – listen to your body. If you need two days off – take it.
Lastly, rest days don’t equal laying around all day. Cue image :
A rest day can include a walk with your dog or family hike. It is still good to be up and active just not “working out”.
So next time you plan your workouts, remember to plan your rest day as well.