Whether you’re an avid runnier, cyclist, swimmer, tennis player, or just someone that loves to workout there’s something we all have in common: the need for a good recovery day. Taking one or two days off per week helps the muscles repair after the stress exercise imposes upon them. The more intense your workout is, the greater the need for recovery both mentally and physically.
Of course, recovery doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. For some, a rest day involves spending an entire day sitting on the couch. For others, it might involve a bike ride, a walk, hanging out on the beach, a massage or spa day. The important thing for your workouts your recovery and your brain, is to find activities that work best for you, and embrace your day off AS MUCH as your “training” days. However they both play very important roles in the big picture.
For some added inspiration below are 5 benefits about recovery days.
Resting between intense workouts is critical for muscle tissue to repair and grow. This process can take 24–72 hours, depending on the intensity and volume of your workout. For strength training, we recommend taking at least 48 hours between working the same muscle group. So, you can lift weights on back-to-back days, but just be sure to mix things up from one day to the next.
We’re all susceptible to workout plateaus, those pesky situations when your body and your brain just stop responding to your efforts. The same goes for fatigue, where we just can’t seem to recover our energy. Taking a rest day helps you overcome those scenarios by allowing your muscles to recuperate. Studies out of the University of New Mexico show overtraining can result in impaired performance — not just in training, but also in daily life, where it can manifest as illness or chronic fatigue. Give your body the rest it needs, and you’ll continue to move forward with your fitness goals.
Between work and other responsibilities, it can sometimes be challenging to create the time for your training session. And that’s the last thing you want from your workout. When you don’t take a rest day, the fatigue and distress may extend psychologically. When someone is “over training” you may notice mental changes like being over tired, reduced motivation, more tense or short with others. Choose a recovery day activity that gives your body and your mind a break by doing something you enjoy, like taking a walk in the park or beach, cooking or enjoying time with friends. “You’ll be fresh and ready to train once you’ve had mental time off.”
Exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen your muscles, bones and joints. But too much exercise can result in injuries. Staying active and mobile is incredibly important. We all know people that do too little and suffer mentally and physically from it, but you can definitely overdo it as well. While any form of exercise can be a great stress reliever, too much exercise without enough rest is a recipe for over use injuries like stress fractures and tendonitis.
Maybe you have a hobby you’ve been putting off, or you need to catch up on some work. Or maybe you just want to spend more time with your friends and family. All are great reasons to give yourself a day or two off from exercise. When we design our clients workout programs, we always build a rest day in there. You need time to let your body recover, as well as finding activities you love to do outside of your “sport” of choice or just training in the gym.
Remember, it’s important to enjoy your life, all of it. It keeps you from getting too burned out, which for sure happens to all of us… Regardless if we are talking about workouts, over working, or just doing the same thing every day, without giving yourself time to regroup and recover. Trust me, I more than anyone love training! I love doing Pilates…and love what I do for a living….and it’s not always easy to incorporate long-periods of down time into my schedule. But I do take breaks every week. Whether it’s just a walk at the beach or in our community, an hour or two reading at the pool, or spending time with friends, I always feel more refreshed when I take that time “off”. Oh and vacations.. the older I get the more I am “learning” how important those are too.
So here’s to all of us learning how to “recoup” and “recover” not only our bodies but our “souls” as well. Hope you find some new activity for your Sunday too. We are off to discover another “undiscovered” beach.