One of the biggest problems people face with intense focus on their fitness goals is not including rest days. Rest days may sound like you lay on the couch on those days, but it isn’t what you do. Instead, you engage in recovery activities like walking or moderate biking. You’re doing your muscles and fitness program a service when you take a day or two from intense exercise.
Recover on rest days.
Intense workouts take their toll on your body. It’s why they’re called intense workouts. You push your muscles to the limit, causing micro tears in the muscles. When you rest, it gives the body time to make repairs, healing the muscle with scar tissue that makes the muscles larger and stronger. Those microtears never heal if you never rest. The accumulation of microtears makes your muscles weaker. Light exercise during rest days boosts circulation to speed recovery.
Exercise stresses your body.
Exercise burns off stress hormones, but intense exercise causes new stress. If you give your body a chance to rest, the rest solves the problem. If you don’t, it causes all the conditions that stress does, which include psychological problems like moodiness. It can cause a high resting heart rate, make you tire quickly, disturb your sleep, and lower your immunity.
Rest days improve your focus.
If you find your mind wandering or you’re not getting the desired results from your efforts, you need a rest day. Focusing only on exercise not only narrows your world. It can cause brain fog. Your mind isn’t in the game. You’ll often end up just going through the motions. That can cause you to become less focused on form and cause injury. Taking a rest day can solve it.
- You can reduce the number of rest days by alternating your work on different muscle groups. Muscle tissue heals in 48-72 hours, so working on the upper body one day, the lower body the next, and a rest day on the third is a good option.
- Do activities you enjoy on your rest days. They can be physical, like dancing, biking, or playing basketball, but they don’t involve going to the gym or doing specific exercises. It helps keep your mind more refreshed.
- If you don’t exercise intensely, you won’t need rest days. People who walk regularly don’t require it, but people who do intense strength training do. Strength-building workouts require replenishing glycogen and healing time.
- You’ll improve your performance by taking a day of rest. Lack of rest days causes a higher heart rate, fatigue, reduced agility, reduced endurance, and increased reaction time.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness