Having a different perspective on your rest days
Having a different perspective on your rest days is crucial to your ongoing wellbeing and ultimately overall fitness. We are often told to stay active and to get regular exercise. One thing we aren’t told enough is that more isn’t always better.
Rest days are just as important as kicking ass in your weekly workouts. Your body needs breaks in order to recover and repair. If you skip rest days because you think more is better, it will lead to overtraining, exhaustion and possibly injury.
Ultimately, be conscious of how your body is feeling. Always listen to your body. You will know when you’ve had too much. Also, look after your mind on rest days. When you are consistently grinding during the week, running fast, lifting heavy, and working hard, your body needs those rest days to physically and mentally repair and improve. I don’t take rest days lightly. They are essential in my routine - and they should be in yours as well. I truly look forward to rest days because it’s a celebration of my body for working so hard, I know I’ve earned it.
Some of the benefits from rest days include:
- Allows your body and muscles time to recover and repair
- Reduces injury and over training
- Improves performance
- Assists healthy sleep
I know you’re probably wondering, will these “days off” hinder my performance? The answer is no. It’s actually the opposite. A rest day or a couple rest days a week should be a part of your routine. Your muscles need a rest day because a proper period of rest affects your performance. No rest days = inhibited improvement
When do I know I need a rest day?
- When I am struggling to wake up in the morning
- Lack of motivation
- Having a hard time falling asleep
- If you have a muscle strain or sustain an injury
Similar to goal setting and planning your weekly or monthly schedule you should plan out your rest days. If you don’t want to be completely sedentary, active recovery is also very beneficial. I know I like to move every day of the week so, even on my rest days I like to do something.
Some ideas that I have found helpful in my routine are:
- Doing a calming, stretch yoga
- Going for a nice walk
- Foam roll and stretch
- Hot magnesium bath
- Low-paced cycling
Something else to consider on your rest days is what you are consuming. Food and hydration is paramount in recovery. The food you put in your body to refuel on rest days help aid the muscle repair process. In order to do that, an adequate amount of protein, complex carbohydrates and of course fruits and veggies should be on your plate. Hydration helps flush out toxins and lactic acid in your muscles. You need all the nutrients to repair your body so don’t cheat your recovery day and think you should eat less because you're not working out.