Rest…We know we need it, but sometimes it seems impossible to get. If you are like me, you may even feel guilty resting.

In the busy lifestyle we have grown accustomed to, we underestimate the importance of sleep, but sleep is so important. Our bodies were designed to sleep, and we can’t survive without it. We need this time each day to recover, restore, and rebuild. I am preaching to myself as I write this post…I confess that lately, I have pushed myself too far. Training 5+ days a week and not allowing my body adequate rest has only had a negative effect. My immune system has been weak and battling sickness should have forced me to take a step back, but unfortunately, this has not been the case. Realizing this fact, I was inspired to write about this topic.

Let’s take a look into why recovery days are a must when on an exercise regimen:

  • Rest days allow time for your muscles to grow. During strength training, your muscles are broken down, forming little tears. Without proper time to rebuild, muscles will stay in a state of being constantly torn down. It is recommended to allow 1-2 days between exercising the same muscle group. It is helpful to stagger your weight training to allow proper rest time. For example: Monday- Bicep/Triceps Tuesday- Quads/Hamstrings Wednesday-Chest/Back etc.
  • The chance of injury increases without proper rest. You are at greater risk for a muscle pull or tear if you over train. Rest allows your joints, bones, and muscles time to recover.
  • If you are over training, you are more likely to experience burn out. This may cause a plateau, which would prevent you from seeing the benefits of your hard work. After rest, you are more energized and ready for your next workout.

Rest days can look different depending on the type of training you are participating in. If you are strength training, your rest day may include a light aerobic activity such as biking, hiking, or walking. This is called an active rest day; you are giving your body time to rebuild, but your muscles are moving which can help with soreness. I hope this post challenges you to evaluate how you rest. Maybe you rest too much and use this as an excuse not to exercise, but more often than not, we aren’t allowing enough down time. There will always be something steeling you time away, so just like anything else, make plans to rest!