A lot of times I’ve discussed the importance of staying active and exercising regularly. But whether you are working out for a competition or doing it for your personal fitness, excess of everything is bad.
Rest days are equally as important as exercise and a great fitness routine is incomplete without rest days.
Regular breaks recover and repair your body. It’s an indispensable part of process regardless the level of your fitness. Otherwise you may overstrain or burn yourself out.
So in this post I am going to discuss the benefits of ‘Rest Days’ in detail so that you can make the most of your workout and fitness journey.
Allows Recovery Time
A rest day isn’t about being lazy on the couch all day. Infact it’s during this time that the real benefits of exercises occur. Without rest, muscle growth isn’t possible.
Workout creates microscopic tears in the tissue of your muscles which can be repaired easily by resting.
Due to this, the tissues heal, grow and get stronger.
Prevention of Muscle Fatigue
Rest is essential for avoiding fatigue induced by exercise. Keep in mind that exercise depletes the glycogen levels of your muscle. If these reserves aren’t replenished, you will experience soreness and muscle fatigue.
Additionally, your muscles need glycogen for proper functioning even when you’re not exercising.
By getting sufficient rest, you’ll be able to prevent fatigue by letting your glycogen stores replenish.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Rest is also important for staying safe during workout. If you overstrain your body, you are more likely to take a wrong step, drop weights or get injured.
Pushing yourself more than necessary also puts your muscles under repetitive strain and stress which increases the risk of injuries and hence making you take more rest than before.
When you don’t take sufficient rest it gets hard even to go through your normal routine, let alone pushing yourself. You might find it very tough to perform an extra rep or run another kilometer.
Even if you do manage to push yourself, overtraining harms your performance.
You may experience less endurance, slower reaction and reduced agility. Rest takes care of all this as it enhances energy and preps you for successful and satisfying workouts.
The quality of your sleep depends a lot on how much you exercise but taking rest days also plays a major role in your sleep.
Physical activities increase the secretion of energy-boosting hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
But if you workout in excess, the production of these hormones will be in excess and you will find it very hard to get a good sleep, which only worsens exhaustion and fatigue.
Taking proper rest can help you get a great sleep by setting your hormones to a balanced state.
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How to do it
Now that we have talked about the importance of Rest Days, “How to do it?” you might ask…So let’s discuss it in detail!
Rest days can be different for every individual. It depends on your daily routine i.e. your lifestyle outside of exercise.
Basically, rest days aren’t essential if you do light cardio. You can perform activities like walking, slow dancing everyday. But if you perform moderate or high intensity aerobic activities, rest days are necessary.
Taking rest every 3 to 5 days is recommended in moderate activity while in vigorous cardio, you might take few more.
While running is a type of cardio, the approach to rest days in running is different. If you are starting running, do it 3 days a week first.
Overdoing it can lead to injuries or fatigue. On other days, take rest or engage in light activities.
Just keep in mind that your other activities should involve muscles you don’t use in running.
You can incorporate rest days in bodybuilding or weight training by rotating the muscles worked upon. After working on a specific muscle group, allow it 1 or 2 days’ time to heal and repair by giving it proper rest.
On other days, quite obviously you have to train different muscles.
One of the best and the most common method of taking rest days is to allot a day for every body part. For example, Monday can be chest day, Tuesday can be triceps and so on.
Regular rest days are very helpful if you are on a fat loss journey. Rest gives your muscles time to rebuild and grow.
And if you have more muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories while resting as muscle burns more energy than fat does.
Moreover when you are refreshed, you will be able to perform your exercises in a better way.
What to Eat on a Rest Day?
On a rest day, you should consume less calories as you are not as active as you are on a workout day. But instead of omitting a specific amount of calories, just listen to your inner voice.
It will tell you when you are hungry and how much you should consume.
Also make sure to consume enough protein, even on rest days as it supports the muscle repair process which is taking place during rest.
You need 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kg of your weight daily (assuming you are an active individual as you are reading this).
Also focus on carbs, drinking a lot of water and eating lots of fruits and vegetables to restore your glycogen levels, preventing cramps and support recovery.
What else I can do on a Rest Day?
Yoga, walking, swimming, dancing or any other low intensity activity, it’s upto you. So these were some important benefits of rest days in your routine.
How will you do it and refresh yourself for the next energetic session of workout?
Share your views in the comments section below!