The Importance of Rest Days…
Hitting your rest goal is just as important as hitting your workout goals! When you work out you create tiny tears in your muscles which need rest and recovery time to let them start to heal, allowing them to grow back stronger. This process in your muscle repair phase means you’re able to progress with your workouts at a better rate. Taking time off gives your mind and body time to recharge, reset and recover. This doesn’t mean you have to be lazy, you could go out for a gentle walk, do some stretching or try some meditation. If your muscles are less sore, you’ll be able to put more into your next workout.
Taking rest days means your body and mind will be less tired so you aren’t as likely to perform exercises with bad form which could result in injuring yourself. Tiredness could also cause you to trip over or not be as aware out on a run/walk, again causing unnecessary damage. Then there are overuse injuries that are caused by the constant stress and strains put on the body. By having a day’s rest in between sessions or even between body parts you allow the body to repair itself. Without rest you could start to feel tired, drained and workouts might start to feel a struggle. To aid your body and it’s repair you could have a preventative or maintenance sports massage or use the foam roller and stretching to help with recovery.
Sleep can be overlooked when it comes to its importance in your progress. The hormones you need to repair your muscles are released during sleep so it’s vital to ensure you get plenty of good quality sleep. Try not using any tablets/phones an hour before bed and really give your body time to relax. Lack of sleep can result in low motivation and even the feeling of exercise being a chore, so listen to your body and get that early night!
Rest days can give you the flexibility to move workouts and days around to allow for the life stuff that can get in the way. This makes things more sustainable and achievable as if you can’t workout one day, you can switch it with your rest day without putting your training in jeopardy. Helping to create healthy habits and have workout and life balance is key to longevity with your training.
The number of rest days you need is dependent on the individual and it’s not one size fits all. This will hugely depend on the type of training you are doing, your fitness level, goals, age and duration of your sessions. Take a stroll, a bubble bath, a bend & stretch or whatever makes you feel relaxed and give yourself some well-earned you time.