If you read Instagram posts, Facebook posts, magazine articles, etc. you will see a common trend in the fitness world: “The harder you work, the better results you will get!”. Well this is true to an extent. Most fitness enthusiasts believe that taking a day off is weak or for the less determined. Whether you are a gym rat, a cardio freak, or an Olympic athlete, it is essential for the body to have a rest day. Here is why:
Without a rest day we are not allowing our bodies to recuperate from the immense strain we put on our muscles, joints, and bones. If we do not allow these parts of bodies to rest, then our immune system will not have the time to heal our bodies from the stress we have put it through. In the end you are opening yourself up to a greater risk of injury, fatigue, and in the end inhibiting your body from making the type of progress that you wish to see.
A small, yet painful, example of what I am getting at is the intense impact running puts on a person’s body. If someone is running day after day, without any breaks, they are putting a significant amount of stress on their lower body. This can lead to muscle craps, shin splints, bone spurs, etc. Our immune systems respond by putting fluid in those areas to protect the muscles and joints, which inhibits our body from performing proper movements. Therefore, without a rest day, our immune systems are no longer able to repair our bodies, and may actually act in a way that will cause further injury.
Still not convinced? Ok, here are a few other important facts about rest days. A bonus for you is that one rest day will not set you back in your fitness journey.
It takes a person’s body roughly two weeks of absolutely no activity before they will start losing progress in their fitness. That’s right! You can take a day off, GUILT FREE!
I am also going to crush any sort of myth by saying that over-training your body will ruin your sleeping patterns. Most people believe that if they train harder, they will be more tired, and then they will sleep better. WRONG! Too much exercise can often put your body into a restless state, increasing your heart rate making it more difficult to get a sound sleep. So take a rest day so you can ready to tackle the hectic schedule of life that we all have.
There it is folks, resting will give your body greater results! So put down those weights, get off that treadmill, and go for a nice leisurely walk instead. Take two days out of your week to enjoy your progress and let your body recover from the intense workouts you have been putting yourself through! And remember…GUILT FREE!