Leg day and chest day and arm day… oh my! When you’re making it a priority to get your body feeling and looking its greatest, you may find yourself pushing harder than ever to achieve your goals. However, all work and no rest can do the body more harm than good. When you’re putting in the extra time and commitment, don’t waste those epic workouts and tough dietary restrictions by overexerting your body. By not allowing the body enough adequate rest and recovery time, a string of unhealthy issues could start to ensue.
Consider the benefits of rest days below:
Things to consider:
- Those new to fitness may need more of a ‘full rest day’ vs. bodybuilders. Those used to working out, especially at a higher intensity or higher frequency, may still want to get some light cardio in. It depends on your own personal fitness level.
- If you don’t want to take a full day off, try opting for a different exercise routine. Yoga is a great example of a slower paced class that can still tone and sculpt the body without overexerting the muscles, like some cardio and weight training might.
- A rest day should not count as a “cheat day”. By allowing your body a rest day, you should be doing simply that, resting. Try not overindulging in calories like you might on an otherwise heavy workout day. This can put you over your caloric intake for the day and cause weight gain.
Tip Takeaway: Don’t worry about taking a day off, “in general, it takes your body almost two weeks of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level”.2 How do you choose to spend your rest days? Share in the comments below!
- Gain Muscle – Lifting weights creates tiny tears in the muscles – sounds painful, right? This is actually a good thing. When we rest, our bodies are hard at work fixing these tears up, which helps make the muscles stronger and build them up. Meaning, if you want to gain muscle, allow proper rest time.
- Prevent Burnout – Too much of anything can cause eventual burnout. Working out should help make our bodies feel better, stronger and healthier. If working out becomes a tedious chore, it can cause stress to our bodies, increase cortisol, and store fat rather than burning it off.
- Protect Your Immune System – The immune system is triggered when we work out because it’s helping to build our bodies back up and provide proper recovery. However “if the body doesn’t come out of continual practice, this system doesn’t have the time to catch up and start patching everything back up”.1
- Strengthen Your Performance – Overtraining can affect your sleep by increasing restlessness, which may cause your body to have a higher heart rate and alertness. Lack of sleep can cause the body to feel more tired and dampen performance levels due to lack of energy.
- Lessen Your Chance of Injury – Resting helps prevent your body from overuse. If muscles and joints aren’t given enough time to recuperate it can lead to strain and injury. So kick your feet up and lay back, because it really can help recharge the body!
- Gibson, Sarah. “Give It a Rest: It’s OK to Skip Your Workout.” Wellbridge Athletic Clubs. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 July 2017.
- Karnazes, Dean. “6 Reasons Why Rest Days Are Important.” Fitbit Blog. N.p., 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 13 July 2017.