A lot of fitness fanatics preach that they are team ‘no days off’ and fitness is an everyday lifestyle that they follow. Yes fitness can be an everyday lifestyle for some but those that are just beginning their fitness journey should leave some rest days for their bodies to recover. With that being said everyone who incorporates fitness into their lifestyles should leave recovery and rest days for their muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild. Some feel rest days are just as important as working out, and here is why:
1. Your Muscles Need Rest
When doing any type of strength training you will learn that your muscles will need time to recover as the muscle fibers begin to tear when you lift weights. If you do not give your body and immune system time to rest and repair your muscles will not benefit from the hard work you’re putting in. This is why many athletes vary the muscle groups they engage on various days and allow specific muscles to rest while they workout another section of their body. If you are someone who does body workout classes or circuit training you may need a full day of recovery as you work every muscle group in your body on a given day.
2. Preventing Injury
Rest days prevent overuse, which in turn reduces injury potential. No matter what type of workouts you engage in your body needs time to rest, if you push yourself too hard without a break your muscles and joints will suffer and this is when most injuries will occur. Getting frustrated by taking one rest day is far easier then having to take a month or two off due to injury.
3. You won’t lose your ‘gains’
Typically it takes someone about two weeks of non-activity before they start to lose a noticeable amount of progress in their fitness level. Taking one day off will not set you off from all the hard work you have put in, it will actually help you excel forward and surpass your current fitness level.
4. Training too much affects your sleep
If your sleep habits are inconsistent and you’re getting up in the middle of the night or feel overtired over-training could be the problem. Exercising too much may put your body in a constant state of restlessness or extremely alert making a successful nights sleep difficult. If your resting heart rate has been high this may be the first sign of over exercise, rest days will bring this resting heart rate down and help you continuously get a good night of sleep.
Incorporating rest days into your weekly fitness routine will help rekindle your hunger for exercise and prevent you from burning out. Start to educate yourself on the importance of rest to adjust your mentality and believe that rest days are beneficial to you. Set rest goals and decide what one or two days you will let your body recover.