When you’re focused on hitting your fitness goals, it’s easy to lose sight of other things that may not feel as important. However, whether you workout to maintain a healthy physique, to lose weight, or to get leaner and stronger, there’s one thing you should never scrimp on: rest.
Doing more and working out longer seem like a good idea—a faster way to attaining the body and fitness level you’re aiming for. Furthermore, in a society that puts a prime on productivity, it’s possible that taking a day off could make you feel a little guilty. However, this should not be the case, as recovery is crucial to optimum performance and in maximizing gains. Under-recovery, on the other hand, can negatively impact not only your physical health, but your psychological well-being as well.
Below, we’ve compiled five simple reasons why rest days should be as much of a priority as training days.
- Your body needs time to recover and repair itself.
While there’s no such thing as over exercise, there is under-recovery. A drop in performance, sore muscles, heavy limbs, and exhaustion are just some of the signs that your body needs a day off. Rest days are necessary for muscles to recuperate from the stress caused by workouts and the process of recovery could take 48 to 72 hours. Take a full day off at least once a week, especially if you do full body workouts.
- Rest days help prevent injury.
Too much physical activity in a short span of time can lead to overuse injury, a type of injury on a joint or muscle as a result of repetitive trauma. One important factor in the prevention of injury is making sure your fitness routine includes regular rest days. Some experts suggest that 48 hours is ideal in preventing injury, while others recommend 72 hours, especially if you’re new to exercise.
- Overtraining can lead to difficulty in sleeping.
If you’re suddenly waking up in the middle of the night and are finding it hard to go back to sleep, it could be that you are exercising too much. Sleep is vital to our well-being, and while we mostly talk about it in terms of how much we’re getting every night, the quality of sleep is just as important. When you’re a fitness junkie, you need sleep to fully recover from your workouts not only physically, but also mentally. Overtraining can lead to a catch-22 situation: when you overtrain and under-recover, your sleep is compromised, leading to a decrease in performance.
- Resting could help you avoid inflammation.
WebMD defines inflammation as “Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.”
However, there are diseases like arthritis that cause the immune system to respond with inflammation even when there are no foreign substances to ward off, causing what are known as autoimmune diseases. When this happens, your body starts to act like normal tissues are infected.
How does overtraining cause inflammation, you ask? When we train, our muscles repeatedly contract and relax, which can cause their fibers to tear. Inflammation occurs during the muscle repair process due to the rise in blood flow to the affected areas. This increased blood flow to sometimes results in the affected area feeling warm and turning red. Sometimes, it swells as a result of fluid leaking into the tissues, stimulating the nerves and triggering pain. To prevent this from happening, give your body ample time to heal itself by giving it a day off from the gym.
- Taking a day off can motivate you to work out more.
Believe it or not, resting can actually encourage you to train harder. This may seem counterintuitive—you might think taking a rest day could make you lazy. Truth is, giving your body time to rest and relax is the single, most effective way to prevent burnout. We know: working out is fun! But anything we enjoy, when done repeatedly and excessively, could eventually lose its fun factor, so take a day off, pamper yourself, and look forward to training again tomorrow.
Much like how we all need a vacation from work every now and then, the body, too, needs time off to recuperate. Giving it ample time to recover improves not only your work capacity, but also your ability to handle stress and your overall endurance. So don’t deprive it of much needed rest and recovery and take advantage of off days to do other things you love—like plotting your next workout schedule, for starters!
To aid in your body’s recovery process, take Maca Root Powder after your workout, as it helps rebuild and restore your muscles. You can also take it before training for an added boost of energy and increased sweating, which can accelerate weight loss.
Recovery in Training: The Essential Ingredient. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/recoveryUNM.html
Are You Getting Too Much Exercise?
Overuse injury: How to prevent training injuries. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/overuse-injury/art-20045875
The effects of exercise-induced muscle damage on cycling time-trial performance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21572353
Can Sleep Be Used as an Indicator of Overreaching and Overtraining in Athletes?
What is inflammation? https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/about-inflammation