Posted on January 04, 2018 by Louisa Feary
Why Rest Days Are Important
Rest days sound like a simple concept but for those that are into their training and enjoy hitting the gym, it can be harder than it sounds. Rest days can be complete days off from the gym or your training or lighter sessions aimed at promoting recovery.
Reasons why they are important include:
When you exercise you put your body under a certain type and amount of stress. Without rest days the muscles and joints can suffer from overuse, which can then lead to injuries occurring. You will miss many more days from your training schedule if you pick up an injury, rather than if you added in the occasional rest day.
Your immune system also needs a break
After intense training sessions your immune system is activated trying to repair micro tears in your muscles. Without rest the immune system cannot keep up with the repairs. This leads to injuries and also illness.
Increase the benefits of resistance training
When lifting weights you are causing microscopic tears in your muscle fibers (this is the cause of the muscle pain in the days following some workouts). The theory is that the protein and nutrients in your diet will provide your body with the materials needed to repair these tears leaving the muscle bigger and stronger than it was previously. If you do not include rest days you may end up training certain muscle groups before the tears have fully healed meaning you do not maximise the benefits from your training sessions.
Avoid mental fatigue
Just like physical fatigue you can also burn out mentally. Training without a break can lead to demotivation or going through the motions during workouts. Sometimes missing sessions can lead to feelings of guilt so if you plan days off into your schedule you can avoid those sort of feelings and reignite your motivation. Here are some mindfulness tips for better workouts.
If you recognise any of the above, or you find you are struggling to make improvements in your training despite putting in the hard work, then it may be worth looking at your training schedule and seeing if you are allocating enough time to rest and recovery.