We all think that working out every single day will lead to a healthier, more active life. However we don’t stress enough the importance of rest days and why your body needs days off. When you keep tabs of down days and limit your activity, your body can fully recover in between your more active days of the week - which is crucial.
Muscles Need Rest & Help Prevent Injuries
It's a no-brainer that your muscles need rest, especially after strength training. When you lift weights, you’re essentially tearing muscle fibers. Without a proper period of rest for your immune system to repair and grow the muscle, you're only going to cause more damage and you're not going to get the true benefits of your training. People work on different body parts each day for a reason - you need to vary the muscle groups you engage with and not overwork one of them. That's where the importance of rest days also comes in. Resting is beneficial for reducing injuries and preventing overuse. If you push it too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer, and that’s where injuries can happen. Do yourself a favor and take a rest day at least 1-2 times a week.
Performance Won't Dip - Immune System Can
Many people neglect to take rest days because they feel like they'll lose their progress. In reality, it actually takes your body almost two weeks of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level. Therefore, taking a day or two off from training will not set you back from all that hard work you’ve put in. However, not taking a day off will cause your immune system to overheat. During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly working to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest days, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs. Then that also leads to injuries, which we don't want.
Sleep & Mental Energy Are Affected
If your sleep is already all over the place, then it's another importance of taking rest days. Over-training can put your body in a constant state of restlessness, making a good night’s sleep tough to achieve. A good telltale sign is an increase in your resting heart rate, which you can monitor with a fitness tracker. Taking those rest days can help bring down your alertness and heart rate, which can help improve your quality of sleep so you can work hard on your active days. Besides your sleep being affected, rest days can also affect you mentally. Taking a rest period can rekindle your hunger for exercise and help prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be just as bad as physical fatigue, so take a rest day to help you recharge.