Exercise is a necessary part of living a healthy life! You feel physically and mentally excellent, reaching your health goals and rocking life, but did you know rest days are essential? Some believe that rest days are just an excuse to be lazy, but they are more important than you think, and here’s why!
Benefits of Rest Days
Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. During rest, cells called fibroblasts repair your muscles which helps the tissues heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscles. Muscles also store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is broken down during your workout to fuel your body, and rest days give your body time to replenish your muscles’ energy storage before your next workout.
Rest is necessary to avoid exercise-induced fatigue. Remember, exercise depletes your muscles’ glycogen stores, and if these stores aren’t replaced, you’ll experience muscle fatigue and soreness.
Reduces Injury Risk
You’ll be more susceptible to injury when your body is overworked. Tired muscles can cause you to drop weights, take a wrong step, or have poor form. Over-exercising exposes your muscles to constant strain, thus increasing the risk of overuse injuries and forcing you to take more rest days than planned.
When you don’t get enough rest, it can be hard to do your everyday routine. Even if you push yourself, overtraining decreases your performance due to reduced endurance, slow reaction times, and poor agility. Rest days increase your energy and prevent fatigue.
Improves Sleep Quality
While regular exercise can improve your sleep, rest days are also helpful. Physical activity increases energy-boosting hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Constant training overproduces these hormones and can affect your sleep quality. Rest can help you sleep better by letting hormones return to normal.
What Should I Do On a Rest Day?
Listen to Your Body
Your body generally needs fewer calories on rest days, but instead of trying to cut back a specific number, listen to your body, as it will naturally let you know if it needs more or less food. Eating enough protein is also essential. Adequate protein intake supports the muscle repair process during rest.
You can stay active without overstressing your body by doing a low-impact workout like:
- Casual swimming
You don’t NEED to do something on your rest day. We all have days where we don’t do a damn thing, and that’s okay! You don’t need to be “on” constantly; rest days help you feel better physically and mentally.
Signs You NEED a Rest Day
- Sore muscles are normal after exercising, but persistent soreness is a red flag. Constantly sore muscles mean you haven’t recovered from past workouts.
- Pay attention to extreme exhaustion. If you feel spent, let your body rest.
- Emotional changes can happen when you’re physically burnt out, and hormones like serotonin and cortisol are imbalanced. This can cause irritability and mood swings.
- When you have high levels of cortisol and adrenaline, you may experience poor sleep quality. Take a rest day to reduce these levels and get better sleep.
- Take a rest day if you notice decreased performance in your routine or stop seeing progress.
The bottom line, rest days are absolutely essential! If you want to reach your health goals without injury or burnout, you NEED rest days, so don’t think of yourself as lazy if you take one.
What West Coast Strength Can Do For You
West Coast Strength offers a comfortable (and awesome) place to work out, but we also provide personal training. Our experience personal trainers will help guide you through your workouts and create a routine that works for you, INCLUDING rest days! If you’re looking for a new gym or need a personal trainer, stop by and tell us about your goals!