Putting your feet up and relaxing might not seem like the most efficient way to go about achieving your fitness goals, however, making sure you roster in rest days so that your muscles have the time they need to recover, will not only enhance the effects of your effort, it will help you achieve your goals faster!
Here are 5 reasons why incorporating rest days into your weekly workout routine, is an important consideration in any fitness plan.
Muscles need to rebuild and repair - This is probably the most important one, in the sense that if you don't give your muscles time to repair, you are not going to be building the strength and resilience you are after, nor are you going to have the capacity to continue to workout at the same level. Each time you push your muscles out of their comfort zone, whether it be lifting more weight, or doing more sets, or running a few extra miles, you are stressing and damaging your existing muscle fibres. Then when you are resting your body can focus on repairing and rebuilding these muscles fibres, stronger and more resilient before. Which is the whole point! But if you don’t give your muscles the rest time they need to repair, you are going to be further damaging and stressing your muscles, which will only delay their recovery and can even cause injury.
Prevent injury - If your muscles have not had time to recover and repair after a challenging workout, then they are going to be in a weakened state. This means that they are no longer able to support the ligaments, tendons, and bones as they normally should which places your whole body at a higher risk of injury.
Regulate your sleeping patterns - Even though you find you sleep well on the days you have done a good workout, overtraining can actually raise your resting heart rate and cause restlessness. If you aren’t getting a good night's sleep then you are going to struggle to maintain your fitness schedule anyway, so this is just another reason to roster in some rest days!
- Prevent burnout - Pushing your body too hard for too long, without allowing for recovery time, will not only prevent your muscles from healing, it can also impact on your immune system and cause all round burn out. Your body gets run down and becomes more susceptible to illness.
Having rest days doesn't mean you have to just sit around all day. You really just need to be resting the specific muscles groups you have been focusing on. Though your mind can do with a break too. So roster in a rest day or two, and if you want you can fill it with other enjoyable and less intensive activities, such as a bush walk, bike ride, swim or sport.
Remember, when it comes to achieving specific fitness goals, you gotta give yourself a rest, every now and then, in order to be your best!