When it comes to creating a balanced fitness routine, whether you’re training for a distance race, enjoy heavy lifting at the gym or simply have a blast shaking your booty in a group exercise class, there’s one component of a quality fitness routine that you’ll find across the board: REST.
There’s no denying that rest days are an important part of a quality exercise routine and as someone who typically takes one or two full rest days a week, I can honestly say that once I began regularly incorporating rest days into my fitness regimen, I saw my workouts change for the better. I felt stronger on the days when I did work out and giving my muscles time to rest and recover from strenuous workouts absolutely had a positive impact on my body.
Today I’m teaming up with CopperJoint to share a few reasons why rest days are so important. (They’re also offering an awesome discount for PBF readers interested in compression gear at the end of this post!)
Importance of Rest Days
- Avoid Burnout
Oh burnout! If you’ve been working out for an extended period of time, you’ve undoubtedly experienced some degree of exercise burnout a time or two. It’s perfectly normal to crave some variety in your workouts and want to change things up at the gym but by incorporating adequate rest days into your routine, you’re more likely to feel excited to return to your workouts after a day or two off. Plus, you’ll likely return feeling stronger and rejuvenated, even after a short break of only 24 hours. (Note: There’s a difference between feeling uninspired at the gym and feeling worn out, beat down and fatigued. <- That could be a sign of overtraining!)
Sometimes I find that one or two days off a week is not enough for my body and I’ll take a few days off in a row. I always think about the way I feel after a long vacation that doesn’t include much exercise… I almost always return from vacation craving a workout! The time away seems to do wonders for increasing my workout motivation.
- Avoid the Negative Effects of Overtraining and Allow Muscles Time to Repair
When you rest, you give your body the chance to repair muscle tissue and replenish muscle glycogen (energy stores). Strength training creates tiny tears in the muscles that repair during rest and by allowing your body time to rest and recover, your muscles can recover and regenerate. Overtraining and not allowing your body sufficient rest can negatively effect the body because muscles need time to recover and repair damaged tissues after a tough workout.
Not only does overtraining increase the risk of injury, it can also negatively effect your immune system, sleep and hormone levels (and your menstrual cycle) and cause you to feel fatigued, irritable and depressed. Overtraining may lead to damage to the musculoskeletal system, as well as to clinical, functional, and biomechanical adaptations that may be detrimental to sport performance. (Source) No thanks!
When I was training clients, I cannot tell you how many people I saw whose fitness routine didn’t include even ONE rest day and had them working the same muscle group on back-to-back days. (This was quite common for people who did “total body workouts” multiple times a week.) A recovery period of 48-72 hours is typically recommended for proper recovery between strength training sessions.
- Focus On Recovery
Though I will often take one random rest day during the week, Sundays are almost always a rest day for me. (I think I’ve worked out on maybe two or three Sundays all year!) I love taking a rest day on a Sunday because it allows me to not only take a break from the gym but also focus on my recovery. By that I mean I try to “reset” myself and think about the past week’s workouts and health-related habits.
By thinking about what went well and what could’ve gone better, I reassess my habits and make positive goals for myself moving forward. This often includes increasing my water intake (always a battle for me!), focusing on additional stretching, compression, foam rolling and more.
When I first started training for half marathons after college, I read a lot about the benefits of compression for muscle recovery after long runs. I began wearing compression socks around the house (and even during runs sometimes) and compression gear is something I still incorporate into my workout recovery routine.
Compression can help relieve pain from muscle stiffness and soreness and reduce the time it takes for muscles to repair while returning oxygen to working muscles. Wearing calf sleeves and compression socks after plyometric or leg workouts that include a lot of calf raises definitely makes a difference in my post-workout soreness and I have been loving the CopperJoint sleeves the company kindly sent my way. (Some people love wearing them during a workout, but I typically prefer to wear them at home and slip them on after my post-workout shower.)
All CopperJoint sleeves are thin and lightweight (a nice change from some other compression gear I’ve tried!) and include 88 percent copper-infused nylon (the highest copper percentage in the market), making them extremely efficient in killing germs in the sleeves. The thin, moisture-wicking material offers a full range of motion and doesn’t limit joint motion.
CopperJoint Discount Offer
If you’re considering incorporating compression into your workout recovery, CopperJoint is offering the first 50 PBF readers 20% off their order with the code PBFINGERS20. Check out the offer here!
Question of the Day
- How often do you take a full day off from your workouts?
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by CopperJoint. Thank you so much for your continued support. I truly appreciate it very much!