Exercise has so many benefits like improved mental clarity, improved heart health and it’s an amazing stress reliever.
Although, exercising every day, 365 days a year, isn’t the ideal workout routine either.
Yes, staying active is vital, but having off time or rest days are equally important.
When you allow your body to have a rest day, you’re giving your body as well as your mind time to rejuvenate and recover.
I’m sure it seems like taking a rest day will affect your progress, especially when you’re trying to meet a weight loss goal. Or even some type of guilt will set in for not working out.
But remember that your body needs recovery time and then will increase weight loss and health benefits once given that.
Allow time for Muscle Recovery.
Intense exercise causes muscle fibers to tear or separate and a rest day is what allows your muscle fibers to come back together and repair, even stronger than they were before.
When we don’t allow for this muscle repair to occur. We’re actually harming our bodies.
You should allow at least one rest day between workouts to allow this recovery process to occur.
But this is also a time that you can focus on stretching and flexibility, which also increases your body’s recovery.
Maintaining low-impact levels of activity on your off days will give your muscles the chance to recover and rebuild muscle fibers.
By continuing to focus on the same muscle groups over and over, day after day, your muscles are never getting that recovery time. By placing your muscles in constant stress you are more likely to experience muscle group and balances as well as possible injuries, due to the overworking of these muscles.
Can a rest day actually help avoid injuries?
We want to challenge our bodies, but if you push your body too hard without any type of break or recovery time, possible pain or injuries, may in fact happen.
You have to keep in mind the long-term goal.
Working out is now a lifestyle, so we’re looking for longevity.
Taking care of your body is the only way to reduce possible risks or injuries. Which would be by giving it the needed rest and recovery time.
Having an off day also prevents your body from any type of extreme exhaustion that may occur due to continuous overuse.
Which can increase injuries, joint pain, stress fractures and even fatigue & frustration.
All things that would set you back much farther than having just one rest day in between.
Be kind to your body…
But give it the rest and rejuvenation it also needs…
Helps to increase bone density.
Studies have shown that consistent over training could lead to a decrease in bone density.
Scientists conducting that study found that vigorous training without the proper recovery time may lead to increased inflammation within the body which then resulted in bone loss.
And when someone has decreased bone density chances of bone fractures are increased, due to a lack of strength in the bone.
Pro Athletes have off days.
After having a game or tournament professional athletes also have a cool-down process as well as recovery method. Athletes are also known for taking a few months off, giving their bodies downtime to recover and rejuvenate due to constant vigorous workouts and grueling practices that can really add stressors to the body.
But this also helps to give their minds a chance to refocus and come back stronger and more motivated. When overexerted time and time again. Burnout can occur for anyone. Whether you’re an accountant or a professional athlete.
A mental health day.
Rest days not only rejuvenate your body, but your mind is also benefited.
So many other things in your life including relationships and responsibilities as well as a work schedule can really increase stress levels overall. Which raises cortisol levels.
That in turn decreases your body’s physical progress & muscle tone development because your body is using that energy to protect itself against these increased cortisol levels. Again showing why rest days are extremely important for overall wellness, including adequate sleep and correct nutrition.
Off days increase muscle strength & tone.
Muscle Recovery, with increased strength and tone occurs while sleeping. This is why sleeping at least 6-9 hours a night, especially once becoming active or working out is vital for true progress and success. This resting period is when your muscle fibers repair, come back together stronger, leaner and tighter than ever.
This rest period, whether we’re talking about off days or adequate sleep at night gives your muscles the chance to modify and recover from the new challenges that you are presenting them with during these physical workouts.
These rest days are the best way to keep your body and your fitness goals on track. Remember, the physical results that you see from maintaining a workout routine only occur after each workout has been completed, not while working out.
Keeping the fun in your workout.
After allowing yourself an off-day. You give yourself a chance to look forward to your next workout…forward to the next time you’ll be walking into the gym.
Which isn’t the feeling you would have if you continuously force yourself to go into the gym, day after day, every day, without any type of rest and rejuvenation in between.
A rest day can consist of a nice walk around your neighborhood, followed by a stretching session. Which gives your body a chance to recover while still working your muscle groups in a very light fashion.
Giving your body a chance to be rejuvenated and ready to approach the next workout day at its optimal level.
Positive mindset. Positive Approach.
A positive mindset is the first step in enjoying any activity. Constant working out, overuse of your body or muscles is unhealthy in the physical and mental aspect.
Off-days help to build structure and boundaries within your workout to avoid overdoing or excessive Fitness.
You should select a day or two away from actual exercise and workouts. The last thing you’d want to become is obsessed with workouts.
Because it shouldn’t be an obsession, it should be a lifestyle. So with any lifestyle component balance and moderation is key.
Have no guilt about resting.
There should always be a level of accountability to your workouts.
I, too, feel guilty, if I miss an actual workout day and I’m sure to make it up during my week.
But remember, I work out two to three days a week. So my rest days are often and plenty throughout my week.
So for someone that’s trying to find that structure and routine, consciously incorporating rest days is very necessary, guilt-free.
People that are constant movers and constantly active people may feel guilty or anxious about an off-day. But this is something that is necessary and beneficial and shouldn’t be overlooked.
This is the day to really pamper yourself mentally and physically. Try to sleep in a little longer, or take a nap throughout your day…go hiking, cook your favorite meal or learn a new meal. Do anything that you would find enjoyable to increase your happiness and boost your mood.
This mental health day is helping to keep you grounded and stable.
Which is essentially getting you to your weight loss or wellness goals in a consistent fashion.
Listen to your body.
If you’re feeling exhausted or fatigued. That may be your body signaling you that a rest day is needed.
Even though delayed onset muscle soreness is expected, if you’re feeling intense muscle soreness a couple of days after your workout, take a rest day.
Listen to your body.
Remember to stay hydrated during and after all workouts to avoid any feelings of fatigue or possible dehydration.
Rest days are key elements to your work out. They are just as important and as necessary as the actual workouts themselves. So be sure to give them each the necessary importance in your fitness routine.