Staying active and getting regular exercise are essential for our health and fitness. However, whether we’re training for a competition or have extra motivation, more isn’t always best. Rest days are as equally important as exercise. Interestingly enough, a successful fitness regimen isn’t complete without rest days included on the agenda.
Regular breaks or rest allow our body to repair and recover from day-to-day wear and tear and added exercise. Rest is a critical part of progress, and skipping it can lead to burnout or overtraining.
Benefits of Rest Days
We often hear about the benefits and advantages of getting regular exercise. Today we’ll touch on some advantages of taking normal rest days.Recovery Time
A day of rest isn’t about being lazy. Resting is essential for muscle growth. The University of Colorado, Boulder explains how strenuous workouts can cause muscle breakdown; resting allows them to build back up.
Exercise causes or creates microscopic tears in our muscle tissues. While we rest, reparative cells (fibroblasts) repair them, which helps the tissues heal and grow. Thus, strengthening the muscles.
Another important factor is our muscles store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. While we exercise, the stored carbs “fuel” our workout. Resting allows our body the time it needs to replenish the energy source before the next workout session.
Reduces The Risk of Injury
Overworking our body and mind can have a negative impact on regular activities. If we’re overworked, there’s more of a chance that we might drop a weight on our foot, misstep, or lose balance.
Overtraining exposes our muscles to repetitive strain and stress. Can you guess what comes next? Yes, this increases the risk of sustaining overuse injuries.
In turn, extra days of rest become necessary, which can negatively impact our fitness training than taking a day when we should’ve.Improve Performance
Without enough rest, running through our regular routine can become complicated, let alone present a new challenge. Suppose we wanted to run an extra mile or do another rep; the motivation might not be there if we're not rested.
Overtraining decreases our performance by reducing our endurance, slower reaction times, and sloppy agility. Getting that day of rest will produce the opposite effects by increasing our energy levels and preventing fatigue.
Prevent Muscle Fatigue
Speaking of fatigue, rest days are essential for avoiding unnecessary exercise-induced fatigue. Exercise depletes our muscle’s glycogen levels, and if they’re not replaced, our muscles become sore and fatigued.
The end of the circle is the beginning! Regular exercise can improve our sleep, but those rest days are helpful.
This is because physical activity increases cortisol and adrenaline, energy-boosting hormones. Constant exercise without rest causes an overproduction of these hormones, which leads to difficulty getting a good night's sleep, fueling fatigue and exhaustion.
How individuals spend their rest days varies depending on their regular workout routine. While some spend the day exercise free, lazing about relaxing, others can’t help but take a brisk walk or do yoga. Regardless of what you do, make sure you get REST on your rest days! Remember, rest is best 24-hours after every workout!