Rest day? YES please!
If asked you: ‘’How often do you take Rest days and Recovery days’’? Would your answer be: ‘’A WHAT’’?
Then definitely keep reading.
First, what is the difference between a RECOVERY day and a REST day?
A REST day, would be a day where you DON’T exercise at all (believe me, you will survive).
It doesn’t mean you have to watch TV on the couch all day (unless that’s what you need!). You can take advantage of it to do some light stretching or mobility work, take a nap, enjoy family time, do some light house work, go for a short walk etc.!
A RECOVERY day, would be a day where you want to be active but at low impact and intensity. The goal is to get the blood flowing to your muscles to help them recover. You can go for a light run, a short swimming session, do some cycling, yoga etc. You want to take action to maximize your body’s repair; physically as much as mentally (hormonal balance, mental state, nervous system repair etc.). You have to make sure you aren’t going at more than 60-70% perceived effort. It should feel EASY.
The importance of REST days and RECOVERY days is critical.
- Physically, it helps your body make the adaptations to get stronger, faster and fitter. While you are working out (especially during strength/resistance training) your body is breaking down small muscle fibres and rest days allow not only your muscles some time to rebuild, but your nerves, bones, connective tissue and blood vessels time to adapt the changes.
- You have less chances of overtraining or extreme fatigue.
- It will help restore your glycogen reserves and avoid feeling depleted/empty. Taking rest days and recovery days will have the opposite effect; it will increase your motivation and energy so you can have a very successful and efficient work out the next day.
- It helps support heathy sleep, which is also very important as it helps balance your hormones. During sleep, your body’s growth hormone (HGH) production increases to help sustain a healthy metabolism, enhances physical performance, repair and rebuild the muscles. Focusing on getting a good night of sleep during your rest day (or ideally as often as possible!) will be extremely helpful for your recovery.
How many rest/recovery days should you take and when? Well, it depends… (type of training, intensity, volume, age, goals, experience…) But to follow a simple rule; about 2 per week. Listen to your body is a great way to decide if you should take a rest day or not. Have you been feeling very sore a few days in a row? Are you moody? More tired than usual? Do you feel very stiff? Your body is talking to you and you must listen!
Remember: "There is no such thing as over-training, only under-resting."