Keeping a track of our activity and food consumed are all important pieces of data that help us live healthier, more active lives. Often we don’t stress the importance of rest and why our bodies needs days off and some downtime! I’m a big culprit of not taking time off! An occupational hazard for me!
Here are some simple reasons why getting our rest is so important.
1. REST PREVENTS INJURY
It’s common sense that resting is beneficial for injury reduction, but why? Well for starters, rest days prevent overuse. That extends from running to lifting and even walking. So instead of always doing a high impact, high energy workout, mix it up with a Stretch class, yoga or Pilates, where the pace is different and you get a chance to actively ‘rest’.
2. YOUR MUSCLES NEED REST
If you’re into strength training, likely that you’re aware of this already. When you lift weights, you’re essentially tearing muscle fibres. But without a proper period of rest for your immune system to repair and grow the muscle, you’re not going to get the benefit of your training. That’s often why body builders do ‘work’ different muscle groups on different days. If you don’t have the luxury of lots of time at the gym, try to make sure you have a ‘day off’ in between sessions where you’re doing full body workouts.
3. YOUR PERFORMANCE WON’T DIP
In general, it takes your body almost two weeks of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level. So don’t think that taking a day or two off from training will set you back all that hard work you’ve put in.
4. OVER-TRAINING AFFECTS SLEEP
Is your sleep all over the place? Over-training could be the culprit. Too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of restlessness or on high alert making a good night’s sleep hard to achieve. Taking those rest days can help bring down your alertness and heart rate, which can help get you a good nights sleep.
Of course, sleep is really important to your general rest and well-being. A solid pattern of sleep will help you be your best on your most active days.
5. YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM becomes less efficient
During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs. And then? You guessed it: injuries.
6. MENTAL health
From a psychological standpoint, taking a rest period can rekindle your enthusiasm for exercise and help prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be every bit as detrimental as physical fatigue and taking a rest day helps to recharge the psyche.
So what can you do to get your mind set on rest? For starters, you’re going to have to make the mental adjustment to understanding and believing that you can take days off. It’s good for you, for all the reasons listed above.
Set your rest goals. Plan workout a schedule and plan your weekly rest days; one or two days where you limit your activity to allow your body/muscles to recover. Remember, as said above; active recovery is hugely beneficial, and a standard routine of stretching or light yoga to improve flexibility and circulation can be especially valuable. And note to self… take my own advice