Recovery time creates stronger muscles, helps prevent injuries caused by overtraining, gives you a mental break, and prevents burnout. This article will teach you the advantages of taking a rest day/week, how to determine when and how often to schedule your rest days/weeks, and about the tell-tale signs that it's time to take a break from training.
It's possible that you're stuck on a progress plateau because you're not exercising enough. However, it's also possible that you're plateauing because you’re not getting enough rest!
Even Though You Sleep 6-9 Hours Per Night, You Feel Exhausted
When you sleep 6-9 hours a night but still feel exhausted, you may need a break from your regular exercise routine. Exhaustion is your body's way of telling you to slow down. Listen to your body. If you feel exhausted even after plenty of sleep, it’s time to develop a "healthy workout routine" and take at least 2 rest days during the week.
After 2-3 Days, Your Muscles Are Still Sore
It's common to be sore for up to 2 days after intensely training a specific muscle group. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). For example, after not training your legs for a while and then doing an intense leg day full of lunges and squats, you may experience a few days of soreness.
If you were planning to train that muscle group 2 days later but are still sore, change your plans. It's more difficult to maintain good form and perform at your best when your muscles are hurting.
Allow the muscles to fully recover and rebuild before working them again. Take a day off, or work a different muscle group.
You Are Drinking Plenty of Water, But You Don't Feel Hydrated
Do you find yourself constantly drinking water but never feel hydrated? This could be related to exercise-related water-loss or hot weather, but it could also be because you're training too hard and need to give your body time to rest, restore, and rehydrate. It's possible that your body is in a catabolic state, where your body is consuming muscle to get protein. Dehydration is a tell tale sign that you need rest.
You Felt Slow and Weak in Your Last Two Workouts
You can't be strong every day, of course. However, if you feel that your regular workouts are becoming increasingly difficult, it's time to take a break. If you don't feel any better after your warm-up, you're likely too tired for the workout. Be disciplined and persistent, but be realistic too.
You Are Cranky
Do you seem to become irritated by everything? Maybe you can't seem to rest as anxious feelings are lurking in the depths of your psyche? People become irritated if their body is depleted of energy. Think about your training program and whether you are consuming enough and resting enough. Exercise can promote the release of endorphins. It should make you feel good. If it doesn’t, then the culprit may be over-training.
What Are the Advantages of Taking a Rest Day/Week From Your Regular Exercise Program?
Below are some benefits of taking a rest period from exercise:
Allows Time for Recovery
A rest day isn't about lounging on the couch. It is during this time that exercise has its most positive impact. Rest is critical for growing muscle.
Muscle tissue suffers microscopic rips and tears as a result of exercise. During rest periods, cells known as fibroblasts rebuild the muscle. This aids in the healing and growth of the tissue, resulting in stronger, leaner muscles.
Additionally, carbohydrates are stored in the form of glycogen in your muscles. Glycogen is broken down by your body during exercise to provide energy. Rest allows your body to replenish these energy stores.
Prevents Muscle Fatigue
Exercise-induced fatigue can be disheartening. As we’ve seen, exercise depletes the glycogen stores in your muscles. You'll experience muscle weariness and discomfort if these stockpiles remain low. Avoid fatigue by allowing your glycogen stores to replenish by getting enough rest.
It's difficult to accomplish your daily routine, let alone challenge yourself physically, when you don't get enough sleep and recovery time. If you’re body isn’t rested, you’ll be less inclined to drive that extra rep up or run another mile.
Overtraining reduces performance. If you overtrain you can expect to have lower endurance, delayed reaction times, less physical flexibility, and poor agility.
Rest boosts energy and staves off exhaustion, preparing your body for more effective workouts.
Reduces Risk of Injury
It's critical to get enough rest in order to stay fit and healthy. When your body is overworked, you're more prone to poor form and posture, mistakes, and niggling injuries.
Overtraining puts your joints and muscles under undue stress. This increases the danger of overuse injuries. Taking planned rest can prevent lots of unplanned injury downtime later.
Supports Healthy Sleep
While regular exercise will help you sleep better, having rest days can also be beneficial.
Cortisol and adrenaline, two energy-boosting hormones, increase during physical exertion. Consistent activity, on the other hand, causes these hormones to be overproduced. This will mean you have a hard time sleeping well, which exacerbates your lethargy and exhaustion. Rest allows your hormones to return to a normal, balanced level, which will help you sleep more soundly.
Watch for the Warning Signs of Overtraining
Physical activity can be a great tool to get healthy and maintain strong mental health too. But the warning signs of "too much" can be difficult to recognize. Learn how to tell if you're pushing it too far by setting your own exercise limits, listening to your body, and having the self-discipline to stop when your body is telling you to do so.