The Importance of Rest Days
Sometimes less is more. Learn the importance of rest days and how to fuse them into your training routine.
Balance is crucial in all areas of your life: at work, school, and in the gym. The same way you push yourself to go hard in the gym is the same way you need to push yourself to take a day off. If you want to feel and perform your best in your sport or at the gym, adding a recovery day to your training routine is necessary, and your body will thank you for it.
What Is A Rest Day?
A rest day is a day off from your strenuous workout routine. Rest days give your mind and body a break so you can perform better than ever. Incorporating recovery days into your training routine allows your body to absorb and consolidate the work you’ve been doing and allows your muscles to recuperate, adapt and become more powerful. The benefits of taking a rest day are endless. To name a few, you can prevent injury, avoid a workout plateau, beat fatigue from overtraining, and alleviate muscle pain and soreness.
How Often Is A Rest Day Needed?
The optimal number of rest days you should add to your training schedule depends on the type of workout and your fitness level. However, it is common to have at least one rest day every 7-10 days. If you are new to working out or have recently intensified your routine, you may want to add more rest days to your schedule. The key to learning how many rest days you need is to tune in with your body, assess your energy levels, and pay attention to any achiness in your muscles.
When To Take A Rest Day Vs. Active Recovery
Knowing when to take a total rest day versus doing a light workout comes down to listening to your body. If you’re feeling like all you want to do is chill, then you have full permission to do so! Don’t feel guilty about giving your body and mind the rest it deserves. But on those scheduled rest days where you still feel the urge to move, an active recovery workout can do wonders. Active recovery workouts are low impact, so your body receives the rest it needs while getting to stretch out and get blood flowing to the muscles for maximum recovery.
Signs You Need A Recovery Day
Even if you don’t want to take a rest day, your body might be telling you otherwise. Here are some common signs that it might be time to take a day off from the gym:
- Persistent muscle pain, cramping or soreness
- Feeling overtired and sluggish during or after a workout
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased incidence of illness or injury
- Dreading a workout
What To Do On Your Rest Day
How you factor rest days into your workout routine is totally up to you. You can chill out and stay in, or if you’re feeling energized, you can try a low-impact workout. Try the following on your next rest day:
- Foam rolling and a light active recovery workout
- Reading a book or watching movies
- Self-care day
- Volunteering or seeing friends
- Catching up on errands and household tasks
Time For A Break
Working out or playing a sport is just one aspect of caring for your body. Adding recovery days into your fitness schedule is an excellent way to show your body some extra TLC. Rest days allow you to take a beat and breathe so you can give your all the next you’re in a game or at the gym.
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