One big mistake we often see people make is being too dedicated. They do an intense workout every day and never take rest days. Taking time to let your muscles recover is important. Without recovery time, you could be sabotaging your fitness goals. You actually build muscle tissue when you’re letting it rest. When you exercise, you make small microtears in the muscles. Resting allows those tears to heal, which builds muscle. If you don’t have that downtime, those muscles never heal and get stronger. Lack of rest can even decrease the size and strength.
Burnout is another problem caused by a lack of rest time.
If you notice you are dreading your workout or find yourself exhausted after just a few minutes working out, you may be suffering from burnout. It’s both a mental and physical phenomenon. While exercise burns off the hormones of stress, ironically, it also stresses the body, especially if you’re doing an intense workout. That stress also pushes each muscle group to the limit and can cause muscle injury due to exhaustion. It can cause sleep disturbances, a higher heart rate and lower the effectiveness of the immune system.
How can you tell if you need rest days?
If you’re doing a light form of exercise, like walking or leisurely riding a bike, you aren’t raising your heart rate significantly. You also aren’t pushing yourself beyond normal capacity. However, for people that continuously raise their heart rate significantly throughout the workout, resting those muscles is important. For instance, if you’re doing weight training every day and working on the same muscle group, you’ll lose ground, rather than build. One way to avoid it is to work different muscle groups. You can create a workout that focuses on six different areas, doing one every day and having one day of rest. That way every group gets six days of rest between workouts.
A day of rest doesn’t mean staying in bed or on the couch watching TV.
Active recovery, whether from an injury or hard workout, is a real thing. Active recovery is mild exercise, such as walking, bike riding, swimming or tai chi, can be done the day after a strenuous workout. It boosts circulation, aids in eliminating toxins, reduces muscle soreness, keeps muscles flexible and helps maintain consistency when you do it at the same time as you normally workout.
- When you include rest days in your normal workout schedule, you’ll improve your performance, increase agility and improve endurance. Stick with 150 minutes a week for intense workouts and fill in the rest with active recovery.
- When your workout is intense, you burn the stored glycogen in the muscles that is used for energy during the workout. If you workout without an adequate store, it causes fatigue and soreness. Rest days allow replenishment.
- Being too tired to workout, but pushing yourself to do so, also has other negative consequences. It causes you to lose focus and form, both of which can lead to injury.
- When you don’t rest, it causes stress on the body and increases stress hormones like cortisol. Cortisol has been linked to the accumulation of belly fat, chronic fatigue and poor quality sleep.
For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center