It is no secret that a balanced diet and exercise regime is extremely important when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But have you ever stopped to think just how important it is to stop and rest? We often don’t stress the importance of rest and why your body needs days off. Here are a few simple reasons as to why getting rest is so important.
- Rest helps prevent injury
Rest days after a few consecutive days of training is important, why? Rest days prevent overuse and muscle strain. When you get tired, you tend to lose focus and are prone to making mistakes or being clumsy, which can result in injury. If you push too hard without taking sufficient breaks, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and that’s when injuries occur. It is important to listen to your body and when you need to take a break – take it!
- Your muscles need rest too
When weight training, you are essentially tearing the muscle fibres so that they can repair, which is what makes the muscle grow. However, without sufficient rest, your immune system will not help repair and grow your muscles, which means you will not receive the full benefits of training. It is also important to alternate between the various muscle groups on training days, so that not one particular muscle group is being over-worked and taking strain.
- Your performance and progress won’t be affected
It generally takes two weeks of no-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of progress, muscle gain or performance. So, by taking a day or two off to rest and recover will not likely set you back and erase all that hard work and progress you’ve made.
- Excessive training affects your sleep
Too much exercise can put your body into a state of constant restless or on high alert, which can make a good night’s sleep harder to achieve. By taking a rest day, you can help bring your alertness and heart rate down, which can help you get your desired amount of sleep. Sleep is so important for one’s general health and well-being, but it is also important for your training as it helps you to recover and perform at your best on more active days.
- Rest gives you a mental edge
From a more psychological point-of-view, taking a break/getting some rest can rekindle your love for exercise and help prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be just as detrimental to one’s health and well-being as physical fatigue, taking a day off from training can help recharge one’s psyche. It can be easier said than done to get your mind to switch off and get some much-needed rest. You are going to have to make some mental adjustments, start by trying to understand and reassure yourself that you can take days off. It is beneficial for you to take days off and get some rest, for all the reasons mentioned above. Just like setting your fitness goal, set your mental goals. Work out a schedule that suits you and includes rest days. Choose one-to-two days where you limit your activity to allow your body/muscles and mind to recover. Active recovery such as stretching, light yoga and meditation can also be greatly beneficial as it improves flexibility, circulation and helps clear the mind which can be especially valuable.