Why Taking a Rest Day is so Important
Why Take A Rest Day?
A rest day is a period of time without any training, usually a 24 hour break without a workout. Recovery can indicate the time required to induce some form of psychological and physical recovery. Rest days are an important part of every exercise routine no matter what your training goals are. A person should plan to take regular rest days and should learn to recognize when extra rest days are necessary. Check out some of the health benefits of regular rest days below.
1. Allows time for recovery
A rest day isn’t about being lazy on the couch. It’s during this time that the beneficial effects of exercise take place. Specifically, rest is essential for your muscle growth.
Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. But during rest, cells called fibroblasts repair it. This helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscles.
Also, your muscles store carbs in the form of glycogen. During exercise, your body breaks down glycogen to fuel your workout. Rest gives your body time to replenish these energy stores before your next workout. (Healthline, 2021)
2. Prevents muscle fatigue
Rest is necessary for avoiding exercise-induced fatigue. Remember, exercise depletes your muscles’ glycogen levels. If these stores aren’t replaced, you’ll experience muscle fatigue and soreness.
Plus, your muscles need glycogen to function, even when you’re not working out. By getting adequate rest, you’ll prevent fatigue by letting your glycogen stores refill. (Healthline, 2021)
3. Reduces risk of injury
Regular rest is essential for staying safe during exercise. When your body is overworked, you’ll be more likely to fall out of form, drop a weight, or take a wrong step.
Overtraining also exposes your muscles to repetitive stress and strain. This increases the risk of overuse injuries, forcing you to take more rest days than planned. (Healthline, 2021)
4. Improves performance
When you don’t get enough rest, it can be hard to do your normal routine, let alone challenge yourself. For example, you might be less motivated to do an extra rep or run another mile.
Even if you push yourself, overtraining decreases your performance. You may experience reduces endurance, slow reaction times, and poor agility.
Rest has the opposite effect. It increases energy and prevents fatigue, which prepares your body for consistently successful workouts.
5. Supports healthy sleep
While regular exercise can improve your sleep, taking rest days is also helpful.
Physical activity increases energy-boosting hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Constant exercise, however, overproduces these hormones. You’ll have a hard time getting quality sleep, which only worsens fatigue and exhaustion.
Rest can help you get better sleep by letting your hormones return to a normal, balanced state. (Healthline, 2021)
If you notice any of the following signs, it might be time to take a break:
- Sore muscles. While it’s normal to feel sore after exercise, persistent soreness is a red flag. It means your muscles haven’t recovered from past workouts.
- Fatigue. Pay attention to extreme exhaustion. If you feel spent, let your body rest.
- Pain. Muscle or joint pain that doesn’t go away might be a sign of an overuse injury.
- Emotional changes. When you’re physically burnt out, hormones like serotonin and cortisol become imbalanced. This can cause changes like irritability, crankiness, and mood swings.
- Sleeping issues. High levels of cortisol and adrenaline can make it hard to get quality sleep.
- Reduced performance. If your normal routine feels difficult, or if you stop seeing progress, take a rest day. (Healthline, 2021)
Whether you’re a novice or seasoned athlete, regular rest is crucial. It’s necessary for muscle repair, preventing fatigue, and overall performance.
To make the most out of your rest days, do low-impact workouts like yoga and walking. These activities will help you stay active while letting your body recover.
Remember, without enough breaks, you’re less likely to achieve the goals you made in the first place. Letting your body rest is the best thing you can do for fitness success.