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5 Reasons Why We Need A Rest Day

Whether you're just starting out on your fitness journey or you're a seasoned athlete, there is one thing we all have in common... we're pushing our bodies, which means after moderate to vigorous exercise, we need to make time for resting. Rest days are crucial for our physical and mental well-being. To help you understand just how important resting is, we've listed 5 reasons why after big workout sessions you should definitely take the day off.

 

Man holding workout bar, resting 

1. Rest days allow our bodies to recover from workouts.

We've all went been through it. We started a new workout class, a new fitness plan, or just pushed ourselves a little more that day at the gym and now we're sore. When our bodies are required to work harder or different than what it is use to, stress is put on our muscles causing microscopic damage and tearing to our muscle fibers. This activity results in our body feeling tight and sore. During rest days, fibroblasts (cells that repair damaged tissue) heal our muscles, allowing them to recover and grow back stronger, and in turn, make us stronger as well. Without resting, our bodies can experience muscle fatigue and soreness, resulting in a less effective workout the next time around.

It is advised to stagger muscle groups that you are working out each week to allow each group time to rest. For example, if you really gave it your all during leg day and can barely walk from soreness, it's best to target upper body the next gym session as to give your leg muscles time to heal. 

 

Woman resting by sitting on boxing ring after workout

2. Rest days prevent injury.

What happens when you don't take a rest day after an intense workout? Pushing your body too hard without a break can result in overuse of muscles and joints and increase the chances of an injury. Training without a rest day subjects your muscles to repetitive stress and strain, making it more likely that you will experience muscle fatigue, fall into improper form when exercising, or push your body into an injury. Staying safe during exercise means knowing when to take a break.

 

Two women working out and smiling

3. Rest days positively affect your performance.

You may have heard someone you know boastfully stating that they do not take rest days from exercise. Though this may come off as admirable in their dedication to fitness, the lack of rest is not something to look up to. Taking a rest day or a short break from working out is crucial to making your workouts effective. By allowing your muscles time to heal, you maximize the effectiveness of your past workouts and you minimize soreness and muscle fatigue so that the next time you work out you will be able to make the most of your time at the gym without hurting yourself.

Skipping a day at the gym will not affect your athletic performance overall. It takes about two weeks of non-activity to start seeing the negative effects on your performance. However, skipping a rest day can negatively impact your performance, including running the risk of injury. So take a day or two off! Your body will only thank you.

 

Women stretching in bed

4. Rest days help you get better sleep.

You would think that going hard at the gym would make you tired enough at night to have a restful sleep. However, without a rest day, overworking your body can result in the opposite effect. Overtraining can increase your resting heart rate which puts your body in a heightened and constant state of unease, resulting in a restless night sleep. If you're noticing yourself tossing and turning a lot throughout the night, try taking a day off to slow your body down and get it use to rest. Sleep is very important to help your body recover and rebuild from all the work you did. So take that rest day to help you continue resting in your sleep throughout the week and crush your fitness goals.

 

Man doing a pull up on a bar

5. Rest days can keep you motivated.

Like everything else in life, fitness should be done in moderation. If you're constantly on the move and fitting in as many training sessions as possible, you can burn yourself out physically but also mentally. Working out without rest days can make every session feel repetitive and every day feel like another, leading to a decrease in your motivation and concentration. Without this mental toughness, it can be harder to push through physical barriers in your training and make you discouraged, leading to negative feelings about your workout.

Rest periods allow you to give your brain and body a rest. Take this time to reassess your training plan, spend time with family and friends, and give recognition to your tired muscles for all the good work they did. After this break, you'll be itching and ready to get back in the gym to try new exercises and make the most of your next workout session! 

Fitness is not just about the work that you put in at the gym. It's also about how you treat our bodies outside of working out. Giving our bodies adequate time to rest and heal is beneficial for us physically and mentally. So next time you give it your all at the gym, treat your entire self by taking the day off. Your mind and body will thank you!

Author: Katie Nguyen, Rise Bar Team

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