The Importance of Rest Days in Your Fitness Program
When your fitness program is going well, and you’re enjoying your training, it can be really difficult to ease off the pace. As tempting as it might be to keep squeezing sessions in, day after day, you need to give your body time to rest and recharge. The importance of rest days should not be underestimated, and if you neglect them, you’ll likely to pay the price sooner or later!
In this post, we look at how rest days are a key part of any fitness program and how they will help you reach your goals.
Reduce The Risk of Injury
When we train, be it a cardio session or strength training, we create microscopic tears in our muscles. These tiny tears are our bodies way of adapting. By training we are pushing it to become stronger and more resilient. When the tears heal, our muscles are stronger.
For these microscopic tears to heal, the muscles need rest. If you overdo your training, the muscles have no time to recover, and tiny tears can be aggravated and become injuries. What started as a natural and intentional element of your training can quickly become a problematic injury that can limit or prevent training for a prolonged period.
Limit Your Risk of Overtraining Syndrome
Overtraining syndrome (OTS) is a recognised condition where the stress of training too hard has a negative impact on the bodies Central Nervous System.
In severe cases, OTS can affect a bodies immune system and cause depression and mood swings. You’ll also suffer from fatigue and won’t be able to or feel like training. The symptoms can last from weeks to months, setting you back massively in your fitness goals.
The best way to avoid OTS is to build rest days into your training program. This gives your body a chance to recover from your training sessions.
You Build Muscle When Resting
Time spent in the gym is only one part of strength training. If your goal is to build muscle and become stronger then, as strange as it might sound, lifting weights every day is counterproductive.
As we’ve touched on above when you train, you’re putting a strain on your muscles and create microscopic tears. During a rest period, these tears heal, and your muscles become stronger. If you keep up this training and resting cycle, you’ll quickly see your strength training pay dividends.
Studies have found that the most important time for recovery and growth is during sleep. While sleeping your body enters a deep sleep known as Non-REM sleep. During this phase, your blood pressure drops, your beating slows and becomes deeper, and your brain activity reduces. During this state, increased blood supply is released to the muscles. The extra blood delivers improved levels of oxygen and nutrients which support healing and growth. It’s also during this stage that your pituitary gland releases a growth hormone which helps your muscles repair and promotes tissue growth.
A lack of sleep or broken sleep causes a decline in the release of the growth hormone. A deficiency in this hormone leads to a loss of muscle mass and reduced fitness levels.
Rest Days Boost Morale and Keep you Focused
You may be champing at the bit to get fit and achieve your goals. However, overtraining is a quick way to feel tired, un-motivated and dreading your next session. By overtraining, you’re highly likely to burn out quickly and give up.
If you are raring to go before each session thanks to feeling rested, then you are far more likely to keep up your training for the long term.
Everyone is different, but if you’re new to fitness training, then we recommend between 2-4 sessions per week. It’s also good to mix up your training sessions to keep them fresh and interesting and also work out different muscle groups.
We’re Here To Help
Getting the balance right between when to train, the type of training to do and when to take a rest day can seem complicated at first. Our personal trainers have the knowledge and experience to create a bespoke training and fitness program tailored to you. We take a holistic approach that will help you train, eat and rest effectively based on your goals.
Please contact our team for a free consultation.