The Importance of Rest Days
NO DAYS OFF! You don’t have to be new to fitness to have heard someone brag to you about their workout ethic and lack of rest days. One of the oldest Bro-sciencey claims is that you don’t need to take a day off from training. In reality it’s quite the opposite. And that should make sense, in any other setting when you don’t sleep well or at all your body isn’t functioning at it’s potential.
Why are rest days important?
Your body repairs itself in during sleep. Firstly, a healthy amount of sleep is vital for “brain plasticity,” or the brain’s ability to adapt to input. If we sleep too little, we become unable to process what we’ve learned during the day and we have more trouble remembering it in the future. Sleep is vital to the rest of the body too. When people don’t get enough sleep, their health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen. Immunity is compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection. Sleep also plays a role in metabolism: Even one night of missed sleep can create a prediabetic state in an otherwise healthy person.
Now obviously your rest day shouldn’t consist of sleeping all day. So what should you do during this time? Often a rest day turns into a cheat day and (although sometimes needed) that could dent your progress. You avoid turning turning your recovery day into a lazy day by maintaining some activity. WHOA! You might be wondering how can it be a true recovery day if you’re still active, but it can be. Instead of your normal routine you can go to the gym get in a good stretch and do some mobility work. Dedicating time to working on your flexibility and mobility helps prepare our body for the rigors of strength training and keeps us from injuring ourselves.