It is no secret that working out acts as a natural high. Exercise has the potential to leave you feeling empowered, meditative, and self-aware. The organic effects of physical activity typically leave you wanting more, but it’s extremely crucial to incorporate rest days into your routine. Rest days look different to everyone. Your rest day will depend on how many days you work out, what type of exercise(s) you perform, and how your body feels. Sometimes, the answer to these questions will lead to a very relaxing rest day. Other times, it will lead you to a more active rest day. Either way, your rest day should be used to let your body and mind recover. So, what are rest days, and why are they important?
Rest Day vs. Activity Rest Day
Let’s say you worked out five days in a row. Every one of those days, you hit the gym and lifted heavy. Your whole body feels sore. A rest day would be best for you in this situation. A rest day is exactly as it sounds. On a true rest day, you should do close to nothing. I know- it’s difficult in today’s world to do nothing. If you are someone who has a hard time sitting still, use your rest
day to catch up on some laundry, clean the house, make a trip to the grocery store, or even cook yourself a healthy meal. You can still check things off your to-do list and have a soothing rest day.
Let’s say you worked out two days in a row. The first day you did some mild cardio, and the second day you exercised your upper body by lifting moderately heavy. Your upper body feels a little bit sore, but other than that, you feel great. Now would be a good time to incorporate an active rest day into your routine. An active rest day involves some sort of physical activity. The physical activity should be a light exercise that is likely to cause little to no soreness in your body. This may include swimming, jogging, bike riding, hiking, or yoga.
Why Are Rest Days Important?
Rest days, whether it’s active or not, are vital. Your body goes through a lot of stress during a hard workout. It will always need time to repair itself and recover so that it can perform at its optimal functionality next time you get your workout in. If your body does not receive the proper amount of rest in between hard physical activity, your muscles will not repair themselves properly. This can lead to major setbacks in your health and fitness goals and may leave you more prone to injury. All together, neglecting rest days will negatively impact your progress. Give your body time to adapt to the physical demands that come with working out. In the end, you will feel even stronger the next time you endure a difficult exercise.
-Danielle Lasky Zero Doubt Club