If you’re hitting the gym daily and pushing as hard as you can until you can’t move, you aren’t doing yourself any favors or gaining any ground. You need rest days to achieve optimal performance. Your body needs a day or two of rest to heal and recuperate from intense workouts, especially strength-building workouts. When you do strength training, it causes micro tears in the muscles that require 48-72 hours to heal. When they heal, the scar tissue makes them stronger. If you don’t rest, the muscles continue to tear and break down.
Rest days don’t require you to sleep in or lay on the couch.
Rest days include active recovery. Active recovery is a mild exercise that increases circulation but doesn’t push your body hard. You might go for a brisk walk, ride a bike, swim, or do stretching exercises. The mild exercise and increased circulation help remove toxins, boost healing, and aid in reducing muscle soreness. It’s a good time to work on flexibility to increase the range of motion.
Burnout can occur if you don’t rest.
Have you ever dreaded going to the gym or felt too exhausted to start your workout? You probably pushed ahead, hoping you would feel better once you started. In most cases, that’s exactly what occurs. If you suffer from burnout, that feeling of dread never ends. Your workout suffers and you experience mental and physical stress. An intense workout stresses your body. If you do it consistently, that physical stress extends to mental stress. It can cause muscle weakness, injury, sleep disturbances, a higher heart rate, and reduced immunity.
Cut down the number of rest days by alternating the muscle groups you work.
Taking one day a week as a rest day is always good, so don’t omit rest days completely. To avoid overuse injuries and damage from working muscles before they heal, consider alternating the groups of muscles you use. You can do intense strength training every day and don’t have to wait 48 to 72 hours if you alternate among muscle groups. Create workouts that focus on different muscle groups. If you’re working your upper body one day, it won’t hurt to work your lower body the next day.
- Track your heart rate if there’s a chance you need rest days. It’s better to slow down your workout than to give it up for several weeks to recover.
- You’ll boost your focus and concentration when you take rest days. Lack of focus, one sign of burnout, can lead to injury or minimize the benefits of the workout.
- Rest days let you rebuild your store of glycogen. It’s stored in the muscles and used for energy when you workout. Lack of glycogen not only causes fatigue but also can cause muscle soreness.
- If weight loss is part of your goal, rest days are vital. If you stress your body too much, it leads to an overload of cortisol. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is linked to the accumulation of belly fat.
For more information, contact us today at Wellness On A Dime Coaching