5 Benefits Of Taking Rest Days
What feelings does the word 'rest' evoke in you? Maybe your reaction is along the lines of 'I never get enough', or perhaps 'I'm too busy' or 'I don't really need it'. How about 'rest days'? Are they a part of your exercise schedule? Here’s why they should be…
Rest can often be the first thing to be deprioritised when our plates feel full, which is an ironic reaction. Being well-rested improves our performance overall, so those extra hours of sleep at night could help you achieve more throughout the day.
Taking rest days within your weekly training routine, just like getting enough sleep each night, improves the quality and effectiveness of all that exercise you're working hard for throughout the week. Here are 5 ways taking rest days can help you run stronger.
1. Improves sleep
Here's where rest and rest days go hand in hand! You're probably aware that exercise helps you sleep – that's true! Exerting energy can make it easier to switch off when your head hits the pillow.
However, exercise produces the energy-boosting hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which are also involved in your stress response. Too much of these hormones can make it hard to fall asleep, so taking a break can help avoid fatigue.
2. Replenish and repair
During exercise, your muscles tissue tears. The repairing of this tissue leads to stronger muscles – and guess when repairing happens? During rest, fibroblast cells essentially 'knit' your muscles back together, bigger and stronger than before!
You also need rest to give your body a chance to replenish glycogen stores – this form of carbohydrate provides energy for your next workout, so if your stores are depleted, you're running on empty.
3. Up your performance
Tired muscles, poor sleep, pain and irritability – these are not the ingredients of a satisfying workout. Tackling exercise when you're overworked or overtired can reduce your agility and endurance, both physical and psychological.
If you skip rest days, you may find yourself skipping that extra rep or extra weight or extra time spent on focused, effective training. A lack of rest catches up with you! Remember those rest days are an equally important part of your training schedule as the exercise itself.
4. Help prevent injury
There is such a thing as too much exercise! Overworking your body can tip you over the edge to the point where you're losing focus, losing form, and increasing the risk of a wrong move like pulling or straining a muscle.
Overworked muscles are also tired muscles, and they can suffer from repetitive training without a chance to knit back together and recuperate. This is why you should alternate which muscle groups you're working, and take rest days to let your whole body off the hook.
5. Allow time for balance
Ahhh, our favourite word – balance. What good are ups if we don't have downs? How do you know happiness without knowing sadness? How can we empathise without imagining having more or less of what we have? And how can we run our bodies at optimum potential without both activity and rest?
Rest days, while you may feel you're 'doing less', are just as important as every rep, set and exercise you perform. Without the balance of rest days, you're pushing your body beyond what is helpful and healthy. A lack of rest can lead to fatigue, injury and poorer results.
No rest for the wicked
You deserve rest and rest days! If you're dedicated to training and leading a healthy lifestyle, taking time off is a crucial component. Rest days don't have to look like sitting around all day – you can still practice some low-intensity exercise like stretching or walking.
If you find yourself distracted by everything that's going on in your life and you'd like a gentle helping hand toward inner balance, RESCUE Remedy® can offer natural stress relief – safe to take daily!