Did you know that to become stronger, faster, and fitter, you have to push your body harder, but at the same time, rest is equally important? Find out how.
All workouts physically strain the body. When you exercise, you fatigue or wear down different muscles resulting in microscopic muscle damage. Inflammation rises, and fluctuations in hormones and enzymes. These alterations result in increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, enhanced insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, improved cardiovascular health, and generally healthier bodies.
But before straining your body again, give it time to go through those adjustments. Most sportspeople know enough recovery is required after training for the best performance. But taking a day off makes many people feel bad. Understanding the advantages of a rest day will help ease this guilt.
1. Benefits Of A Rest Day
2. Methods Of Recovery
3. What Can Be Termed A Proper Rest Day?
4. The Final Say
The body's energy reserves or muscle glycogen are depleted during intense exercise. The breakdown of muscle tissue is another consequence. Giving muscles enough time to recuperate enables the body to "correct" both of these problems by replenishing energy reserves and mending damaged tissues. If you do not take enough time off to restore your glycogen supplies and offer your muscles the chance to repair any damage, your performance will suffer. Further disregard for replenishment can lead to sustained muscle soreness and pain.
The adaptation principle states that as we exercise, our bodies experience stress and become more efficient. It is similar to learning any other new ability. Although initially challenging, it ultimately becomes more accessible and more manageable. Once you have gotten used to one stress, you need more stress to keep going.
Before breaking down and being wounded, the body can only endure so much stress. Too much activity done too quickly will result in muscle damage or injury. On the other hand, if you work too slowly and on too little, there will not be any progress. For this reason, trainers design specialised programmes that continue to increase time and intensity while allowing for rest days.
Overtraining syndrome is a result of insufficient sleep/recovery time. This condition is estimated to affect 60% of elite athletes and 30% of non-elite endurance athletes. Additionally, getting rid of it once you've obtained it could be challenging. Overtraining has a wide range of adverse effects. Research says it can affect your mood, diminish your libido, raise your body fat, and increase your chance of dehydration.
Taking a day off from working out also provides your body and mind a break and prevents your schedule from getting too full. Spend extra time with your loved ones on your day off. Engage in a pastime instead of exercising like usual. Finding balance is the key to a good and healthy life. It consists of deciding how to divide time between work, home and fitness. By taking an off day, you can cater to these other concerns while allowing your body the time to recuperate entirely from your workouts.
When a competent trainer does not adequately monitor you throughout an exercise, you are likely to sustain an injury. Contact a qualified trainer or coach to prevent tissue or ligament damage. When you do not take rest days in between sessions, this is another crucial factor in training injuries. Overdriving can cause heating, engine failure, and even breakdown in your vehicle. Similarly, when muscles are not restored, they become more tired, painful, and even vulnerable to internal injury. There may be both short-term and long-term repercussions from these workout injuries. So, getting enough sleep is essential for a stress-free and tranquil workout.
Recovery from a workout involves more than just kicking your feet up on the couch. A range of techniques to aid your muscles' healing is essential for optimal post-workout recovery. Here are some of those strategies:
Passive recovery, a complete cessation of exercise, is synonymous with total rest. Your current fitness level and the intensity of your workouts will influence the amount of passive recovery your body requires.
Active recovery is low-impact, low-intensity physical activity that stimulates blood flow and tissue healing without putting the body under additional strain. For example, engage in lower-intensity cardiovascular exercise, such as walking or riding a bike, if you feel worn out after strength training. This will allow your body to circulate waste products produced by the strenuous activity, or consider doing some mild yoga to stretch out your tired muscles. Anything you can perform without becoming exhausted or wearing out your muscles is considered active recovery.
Myofascial release, often referred to as soft tissue therapy, consists of foam rolling and massages. Doing right before and right after exercise might help lessen delayed onset muscle soreness while accelerating muscle recovery.
Your body receives the building blocks it needs from the meals you eat to mend muscles and aid recovery. Lean protein, whole grains, and antioxidant-rich whole foods make up a whole food-based diet that can help your body make the changes it needs to between exercises so that your body is in better shape for your next workout.
This is a key aspect of recovery. Most growth factors and hormones the body creates to help with everyday muscle repair and healing are produced when we sleep. So getting 7-9 hours of sleep daily allows those growth factors to do their work. This also aids stress management.
The idea that you should spend your rest days on the couch browsing through your feed is not accurate. Instead, you can engage in NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), which includes housework, cooking, shopping, playing with your children, and meditation. You can also enjoy a sauna, a deep tissue massage, an ice bath, and music while engaging in less strenuous exercise.
After reading through the importance and benefits of rest or recovery days, you know now that off days are not for you to feel guilty but are for your muscles to rest and repair muscle damage. Physically, muscle repair, regrowth, and strengthening require rest. Therefore, building in rest days and partaking in active recovery can support recreational athletes in maintaining a better balance between their personal, professional, and training goals. For the muscles that have been worked, 48-72 hours of rest is optimal.
1. When should I take a rest day?
Rest days should be 1-2 days a week. Either you can take rest on weekends, or you can rest after every 3 days for 1 day and then resume your training.
2. As a beginner, how often should I take a rest day?
As a beginner, you should take 2 rest days in a week.
3. Should I only take rest days if I feel too sore or injured?
No! Even if you are not feeling sore or tired, you should be taking rest days, as rest days are crucial for recovery.
4. What should I ideally do on a rest day at home?
Take proper rest, eat the right macros, drink plenty of water and do some stretching if you feel muscle soreness.
5. Should I still engage in light stretching on my rest days?
Yes, you can do some light stretching on rest days.
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