You committed to a workout routine, and you’ve been on fire since you started. You never miss a workout, you give it one hundred percent every time and have stayed motivated. You’re getting stronger and you’re feeling good about yourself. You’re determined to stick with it. Great! But have you taken a day off since you began? If not, your program is missing a valuable piece to its puzzle—a rest day.
What Is a Rest Day?
Rest days, or recovery days as they’re sometimes called, are taking a day off from your usual exercise routine. It doesn’t mean you have to take a day off from all activity. You can certainly take a complete break and do no physical activity, or you can do something that is easier on your body like going for a walk or a bike ride or taking a yoga class.
You should also use rest days to reevaluate your current workout program and see what kind of progress you are making and if you need to make any adjustments to your routine. Often times, people go through the motions of their workout without paying attention as to whether or not they’re reaching their goals or making any progress. By taking the time to review your program, you may find you need to make a few tweaks here and there.
Benefits of a Rest Day
The goal of a rest day is to let your body recover from rigorous workouts, so you don’t burn out or injure yourself. Your body needs to heal, and if you’re constantly running yourself into the ground without taking a break, your body will no doubt begin to revolt.
Why do you think you need to go to sleep every night? Because it takes a lot of work for your body just to function every day. From work to meal prep to taking care of the kids, this all takes energy! Now add to that some strenuous exercise and your body will definitely require some additional time to reboot.
If you’re constantly in go, go, go mode without a break, you could run into some issues.
Here are some possible problems that you could run into if you don’t take that much-needed rest day.
- Increasing your risk of overuse injuries like stress fractures and joint pain
- Extreme fatigue
- Decreased immunity
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Diminished interest in exercise
Even if you are training for something that requires a greater amount of workout time, you should still incorporate at least one day a week as an active rest day (if not a complete rest day) where you’re a lot kinder and gentler on your body.
Rest Day Ideas
If taking a day off from physical activity leaves you feeling more stressed than relaxed, here are a few ways you can still be active on your rest days, while still giving your body a much-needed break:
- Take a long walk
- Do some yoga
- Work on flexibility and balance
- Try a Tai Chi class
- Go for a swim
- Ride a bike
- Play a game with your kids or friends like tag or frisbee
- Work on improving your form on exercises, but use only your bodyweight
The Final Word
As you can see, there are still plenty of ways to recover from your workouts without sacrificing all physical activity from your day. Just be sure that whatever you choose to do is low impact and easy on your body. FitOn has many options for active rest days, like yoga and flexibility, that will leave you feeling refreshed and recovered so that you come back even stronger on your next workout.