Ahh, the infamous rest day. To an avid gym-a-holic, the word rest does not resonate well… reality is, even with youth on our side, our bodies need a day-off in order to achieve optimum performance. Whether during or after physical activity, when you allow your body to rest your muscles begin to repair and strengthen. Truth be told, depriving the body of rest can actually weaken even the toughest athletes! Just think of rest-day as a weekly holiday, dedicated solely to the rejuvenation of your body (it’s a “Me-Day”)!
The 3 top reasons for skipping rest day and why you should reconsider!
- Guilt-be-gone! Too many gymletes (all you faithful gym members!) feel guilty when they take a rest day. However, preventing your muscles from recovering can lead to the atrophy of your joints. The body needs time to repair damaged tissues, stressed joints, and replenish energy stores.
- Body Over-kill. It is easy to ignore the signs when you are working towards a fitness goal, but when should you throw in the towel? When your body wants to call out sick from working out, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your fitness regimen. One warning sign may be stiff or sore muscles. Soreness can result from lactic acid building up or the tearing of microscopic muscle fibers.These microscopic tears enable your muscles to rebuild, stronger. Avoiding a rest day when your body is aching can prevent the muscles from repairing properly.
- Without pain, no gain. Wrong! ‘All work and no play’ is not the philosophy for physical training! When you engage in physical activity, your body undergoes stress. These stressors on your tendons and joints can take a major toll on your health, such as chronic tiredness, fluid loss, sickness and low energy levels.
Exercise affects you physiologically and psychologically. While your muscles need to physically repair, your mind must be rested as well. Mental toughness is half the battle; A strong mind guides a strong body. (Also, there are semi-active ways to recover, such as yoga, meditation, or swimming!)
How do you spend your rest day? Tell me in a comment!
By: Rebecca Nathan