6 Reasons Why You Need To Take Rest Days and Avoid Injury
6 Reasons Why You Need To Take Rest Days And Avoid Injury
Do you ever feel guilty when you have rest days? I do, kind of, although I know they’re such an important part of the whole keeping fit and healthy process. I think I probably miss the happy hormones which I get a whole load of when I exercise daily.
But why is taking a rest day so important? When you work out, you’re breaking your body’s tissues down. I try and alternate a day of resistance training followed by a day of cardio and every three or four days I’ll include a core-specific workout too. Then probably every 7th day I take as a rest day. Sometimes life just gets in the way and if it means I can’t work out because of other commitments, that then becomes my rest day.
And by the time my rest day is over with, I’m raring to go 24 hours later. Are rest days something you find hard to manage?
Here’s 6 reasons why rest days help you achieve your fitness goals:
1. Your body needs rest
Your body needs to rest. When we’re training, we’re breaking down muscle fibres and connective tissue. Ideally alternate the body parts you train to allow the nerves, muscles, connective tissue and bones sufficient time to rebuild themselves.
2. Rest days keep your performance high
Taking regular rest days keeps your performance at peak level. The body is surprisingly adept at maintaining its fitness and so taking one or a few days off won’t be noticeable to your overall fitness or health – you’ll probably feel even more energised when you get back to your training schedule.
3. Rest days helps prevent injury
Taking rest helps to prevent injury. When our muscles are tired, that’s when they can become inflamed, or we lose the power to do our exercises with excellent posture, which ultimately increases your chances of injury. Just two weeks ago I hurt my lower back by not bending my knees enough to pick up some heavy weights, because I was tired already.
4. Your immune system needs a break
You can weaken your immune system when you over train. Stress, in any form, has a negative impact on the body. Not giving your body the time it needs to recuperate asks a high price of your immune system.
5. Rest days help you sleep better
Rest days help you sleep better. When we’re stressing the body with over-exercise, we release more stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. Both these hormones have a negative impact on sleep. I remember when I was training in Krav Maga (Israeli close combat fighting). I’d train myself to a pulp on a Wednesday and Friday evening and expected myself to collapse into bed and sleep the sleep of a dead person, but it never happened. The stress hormones were spiking and I just couldn’t settle, no matter how dog tired I was.
6. Rest days keep you fresh
Rest gives your appetite for exercise a chance to strengthen again. I miss my days of exercise, and as today is my day of rest, I’m already getting excited about which workout I’m going to blast through tomorrow. Ok, “blast” might be a little of an exaggeration, but I know that however tough the training is, I’ll feel INCREDIBLE once I’ve finished.
So, give yourself a break. Take your rest day as an opportunity to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you’ve already achieved through dedication, commitment and well-earned sweat.