Why you should work rest days into your fitness routine

I am not one to take many days off from being physical. Even if it means a 3-mile walk or swimming laps. But the fact is, your body needs rest days. It’s just as important. Many personal trainers and experts will tell you a successful regiment isn’t complete without rest days. As much as we love to see you at Board30 PV, your body needs to recover and repair regardless of your fitness level or sport.

There are often telltale signs if your body is struggling and needs rest. Your muscles may be sore or cramp, you may feel too tired to workout, you may be in pain or injured because of overuse, your mood and sleep may be suffering, etc. Your body is trying to tell you something.

So, what constitutes a day of rest and when should you take it? It’s really different for everyone. It depends on your fitness level, your frequency and your daily routine. Recommendations for adults are 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity – or a combination of both. A HIIT fanatic may need more rest days than someone who walks for exercise. 

If you’re doing moderate to vigorous aerobic activity like Board & Bounce, Circ HIIT, Bootcamp Bounce, etc., this may apply to you. Rest days are recommended every three to five days, according to healthline.com. Rest days aren’t necessary for light cardio. 

Weight Training
You should incorporate rest days by rotating the muscles worked. Let’s say you work out your shoulders one day – let them rest for one to two days so they can repair and heal. On those days, train a different muscle. You often hear people plan their weekdays around a body part: Monday is for legs. Tuesday is for back, etc. 

Rest doesn’t have to mean doing nothing at all for your body… you can do light stretching, swimming, biking, foam rolling (Fridays at Board30 PV) or a leisure walk so you are still moving your body. Our Lower Intensity Interval Training (LIIT) on Thursdays at the studio is great alternative on a rest day (or if you’re coming back from an injury or just want a lighter workout), as is yoga for mental wellness as well. Gently moving your body around can help facilitate blood flow and speed up your body’s natural healing process. 

Here are some advantages to taking a day or two off:

  1. Reduce the risk of injury. If your body is overworked, you’re more likely to fall or have bad form which could hurt or injure something.
  2. Prevent muscle fatigue. Exercise depletes your muscles’ glycogen levels and if they aren’t restored by getting rest, your muscles will be tired and you’ll experience exercise-induced fatigue.
  3. Get more sleep. Constant exercise can overproduce hormones that boost energy so you’ll have a hard time getting good, quality sleep. Rest days can ensure your hormones return to normal.
  4. Recovery. Rest is essential for muscle growth, and this is when the benefits of exercise takes place – when the microscopic tears in your muscle tissue repair themselves. 
  5. Improve performance. You may not feel up to working out or pushing yourself harder if you have reduced endurance and poor agility. Rest can prepare your body for your next workout.

The most important takeaway is to listen to your body. It’s ok to take a mental day or a rest day if you aren’t feeling it. Your body will perform better in the end. 

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