5 reasons why you must take a rest day

Avoid days off? You could do more harm than good. If you work out regularly, you will also need to consider stop times, which are useful and essential to get even more excitement at your next workout.
If you’re smashing your workouts regularly, you’ll need to factor in plenty of rest. Taking time away from exercise doesn’t just allow your body to heal and recover properly, but it can also boost sleep and help beat stress. A rest day is as important as the workout routine itself and they should be taken, regardless of whether you’re feeling tired or not. Of course, the number of rest days you take will depend on your training and your fitness levels, however, a minimum of one a week is a good goal post.
But what exactly does a rest day entail? It doesn’t need to mean a day lying still on the sofa with no movement. You can still factor in movement on your rest day, just take away the intensity. Walks are great as well as some mobility and flexibility training to ensure your body is prepared for the next workout. Not convinced? Here are five reasons you must take a rest day.

1. Lets your body recover properly

You might think that muscle growth happens in the gym. Actually, it happens when you let your muscles rest. When you exercise, small tears are created in your muscles and it’s only when you take time out, that these tears heal and leave you with stronger muscles than before. If you’re choosing to go heavy on squats every single day of the week, your quads, hamstrings, and glutes will never have time to repair and grow. So essentially, it negates the point of your workout. Take rest and watch those muscles grow!

2. Improves your performance

Everyone needs to step away from exercise sometimes. Even the greatest athletes will be scheduling in precise, strict rest periods if they want to continue to see improvements in their performance and avoid the dreaded ‘overtraining’. Rest gives your energy a boost by allowing your body to replenish its glycogen stores. Glycogen is essential for your muscles to work properly; too little glycogen will leave you tired and weak. This will soon show up in your workouts by way of weaker reps, slower speeds and a negative exercise attitude.

3. Helps prevent injury

If you’ve ever had to deal with an injury, you’ll know how frustrating it can be when you’re forced to take long stretches of time away from exercise. So, to help avoid this, schedule rest days and let your body relax. If you never give those muscles a break, they could become injured from overuse. Overuse injuries include achilles tendonitis, runners knee, shin splints and tendonitis of the shoulder. And then other painful ailments such as blisters and loss of toenails can also occur.

4. Boosts sleep

You might think exercise would tire you out, which yes of course it can do. But overtraining can have the opposite effect and wreak havoc on your sleep.

How? When you train, stress hormones are released such as adrenaline and cortisol. Usually these would then lower back down after a workout, but if your body is constantly being put under the stress of exercise, the stress hormones stay active, in turn, making it difficult to get the best quality sleep possible. Then this can lead to even more exhaustion. Taking rest allows your hormones to stay balanced for a restful night’s sleep.

5. Boosts your motivation

Finding it a chore to get yourself up and out to the gym? It could be your body’s way of telling you to take it easy. Plus, too much exercise could leave you bored and feeling a bit lacklustre. Keep that workout mojo fired up by ensuring some time away - after all, you can certainly have too much of a good thing!

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