We all know that an adequate amount of rest is needed in order for us to fully recover after a workout. Indeed, rest days are important in the muscle recovery process and rest days are needed in between days of maximum exertion in order to fully maximize muscle efficiency and health. Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for all ages. It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function. On the other hand, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.
During your rest days, also known as “off” days, always remember that your purpose in training is to enhance your functional ability. This requires you to have recovered sufficiently between workouts so that you end up spending more time above the baseline (the strength level that you had prior to your workout) than below.
“To enjoy the advantages gained through resistance training, you want those advantages present for several days, rather than just a few hours of one day. Otherwise, what exactly is the benefit? What, for instance, would be the point of taking six steps backward in order to take one step forward?” – Dr. Doug McGuff
When it comes to gaining maximum benefits from your workouts, rest is key. In summary, days off are needed in order for you to fully recover from those hard, maximum effort exertions. 48 hours of rest between high intensity strength workouts is required for maximum results to fully recover between workouts.
Here’s a look at the advantages of taking regular rest days.
1. Allows time for recovery
Contrary to popular belief, a rest day isn’t about being lazy on the couch. It’s during this time that the beneficial effects of exercise take place. Specifically, rest is essential for muscle growth.
Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. But during rest, cells called fibroblasts repair it. This helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscles.
Also, your muscles store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. During exercise, your body breaks down glycogen to fuel your workout. Rest gives your body time to replenish these energy stores before your next workout.
2. Prevents muscle fatigue
Rest is necessary for avoiding exercise-induced fatigue. Remember, exercise depletes your muscles’ glycogen levels. If these stores aren’t replaced, you’ll experience muscle fatigue and soreness.Plus, your muscles need glycogen to function, even when you’re not working out. By getting adequate rest, you’ll prevent fatigue by letting your glycogen stores refill.
3. Reduces Risk of Injury
Regular rest is essential for staying safe during exercise. When your body is overworked, you’ll be more likely to fall out of form, drop a weight, or take a wrong step.
Overtraining also exposes your muscles to repetitive stress and strain. This increases the risk of overuse injuries, forcing you to take more rest days than planned.
4. Improves Performance
When you don’t get enough rest, it can be hard to do your normal routine, let alone challenge yourself. For example, you might be less motivated to do an extra rep or run another mile.Even if you push yourself, overtraining decreases your performance. You may experience reduced endurance, slow reaction times, and poor agility.
Rest has the opposite effect. It increases energy and prevents fatigue, which prepares your body for consistently successful workouts.
5. Supports Healthy Sleep
While regular exercise can improve your sleep, taking rest days is also helpful.
Physical activity increases energy-boosting hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Constant exercise, however, overproduces these hormones. You’ll have a hard time getting quality sleep, which only worsens fatigue and exhaustion.
Rest can help you get better sleep by letting your hormones return to a normal, balanced state.
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