Time to stop: why do we need rest days?
The sweet rush of endorphins, the noticeable changes to your body and the big boost in confidence just can’t be beaten.
Suddenly, though, the mere thought of taking a self-imposed rest day sends shivers down your spine. Time spent lazing on the couch could be time spent making gains at the gym, you tell yourself. So why wouldn’t you work out every day?
As tempting as it might seem, resisting the urge to rest can actually have serious implications on your overall fitness. It can severely increase your risk of injury, stifle your motivation, and even slam the brakes on your progress entirely.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to take a day off and rest up from the rigours of exercise…
Avoid aggravating injuries
If you’re worried about missing your sixth gym session of the week (sometimes it’s okay to skip leg day), just imagine how many days you could miss if you were sidelined with a serious injury.
Every time you workout, your body is put under strain. Whether it’s the impact that running places on your joints, or the micro-tears that occur in your muscle fibers when lifting weights, it’s paramount that you give your body the time it needs to recover and repair itself properly. Failure to do so can cause these common consequences of exercise to develop into something far more painful.
Fight off fatigue
Want to make massive gains when you’re not at the gym? Hit the hay if you want to see your body really transform. A lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, affect your mood and ultimately stop you from beating your personal best.
While you might expect to be completely exhausted from going flat-out at the gym, over-training can actually affect your sleep patterns in a negative way. Your body is more likely to be restless and in a high state of alert, making sleepless nights a more common occurrence.
Manage those muscles
If you want to maximise your muscle growth, sometimes it pays to put the dumbells down. As we’ve already mentioned above, resistance training causes microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. Your body then generously repairs and strengthens these damaged fibers, which slowly leads to increased strength and – you’ve guessed it – growth. If you’re constantly curling iron without giving your body the time it needs to recuperate, don’t be surprised if your muscles wave the white flag.
Time to rest
It’s clear, then, that rest days aren’t just a necessity when it comes to a successful exercise regime – they’re downright crucial. If you work hard in the gym and want to push past the plateau, give your body the relaxing reward it deserves with some much-needed rest and recuperation. Your body will thank you.
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