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Rest And Recovery...

Updated: Apr 9

It's easy to neglect rest days when you're in the zone and enjoying your exercises a lot. After all, you're making excellent progress, have an abundance of energy, and are always energised after a session. Increased exercise must be beneficial, right?

Not always. Like most things in life, exercise is all about finding balance. Even top athletes incorporate rest days and easy sessions into their weekly training routines, because even while it's fantastic that you want to work out harder and more frequently, time outs are an essential component of any fitness programme.


Rest days provide your body and mind a chance to recuperate from exercise. They keep you from losing your motivation and burning out, and they make sure you're prepared to give your next session everything you've got. In addition, rest allows your body to become stronger and more fit, so when you return from an exercise, you'll be in a better position to maximise the benefits of your next session.

Put simply, you will need to occasionally raise your feet if you hope to experience consistent growth. But how often should you take a day off, what are the advantages, and is lounging on the couch with a remote all day necessary?

  1. Rest days help you get stronger

Even while you might believe that your body improves when you're exerting yourself to the limit during a workout, rest is equally vital to achieving your fitness objectives.

"Muscle is developed in its 'repair phase', when you're resting and refuelling," says Jordane Zammit Tabona, Director and Lead Physio at Function360.

Your muscle tissues develop tiny rips with each exercise session. Your muscles begin to repair and strengthen during rest, so you'll be able to perform the same exercise with less effort in the future. 

2. Rest days aid in preventing injuries.

Skipping rest days increases the risk of injuries lasting longer. Exercising when fatigued increases the likelihood of poor form, tripping, or stumbling. Because you don't give your body enough time to heal itself, you put it under constant stress and pressure, which increases your risk of overuse problems. "Increasing the amount of training you're doing or upping the intensity, without giving your body enough time to rest and recover, is a common cause of injuries like stress fractures and tendinopathies," Jordane explains. According to a recent study, overuse injuries are the most common kind of injuries in professional sports, requiring affected players to miss at least three weeks of training.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to relax if you want to avoid missing weeks or even months of training.

3. They aid in your progress towards fitness

Exercise too much without taking breaks, and you risk having your fitness decline or perhaps come to a complete stop. Exercise causes the release of stress hormones, and excessive exercise without adequate rest can result in burnout, much as working long hours without taking days off can have a bad influence on your health.

Burnout, sometimes referred to as overtraining syndrome, can disrupt your central nervous system and cause major disruptions. The parasympathetic nervous system, which aids in calming your body down, and the sympathetic nervous system, which sets off the fight-or-flight response, are the two components that make up your central nervous system. The continuous strain of exercise can interfere with your body's natural healing processes if you're not giving yourself enough time to relax and recuperate.

This may cause you to feel exhausted and worn out all the time. Workouts may seem considerably more difficult than they formerly did, and you may find it difficult to complete activities that you previously believed to be pretty simple.

4. They mean you can train even harder

Everyone has had that emotion. After your HIIT session's 30 seconds of intense workout, you vowed never to perform an evil burpee again. Twenty seconds later, you're primed to assault it once more with vigour.

That is the nature of leisure days. Taking a break allows your body and mind to rest, rejuvenate, and recuperate. Your muscles won't be as tired and painful, and you'll be able to give your next workout the kind of effort it takes to produce results, rather than merely going through the motions.

Research has indicated that inadequate sleep might lead to a decrease in motivation for engaging in activities you typically love during your free time, and that skipping mental rest periods after physical activity can also have this effect. Mini breaks help you stay motivated and keep exercise from seeming like a job. The power of absence grows greater.

What should you do on rest days?

Rest days don't have to be spent zoning out with a boxset. Active recovery - that's very gentle, low-impact exercise - can be beneficial, too.

Walking the dog, playing with your kids in the park, stretching and self-massage with a tool like a foam roller can all get the blood flowing and help you relax.

How many rest days do you need per week?

The number of rest days each person needs varies. It can depend on a variety of factors including the duration of your workouts, your current fitness level, goals, age and genetics.

A survey of over two thousand people revealed that thirty-three percent of those who do not exercise said they are too busy. While it's common knowledge that adding an HIIT exercise to your daily routine is easy, trying to do so consistently has substantial psychological and practical hurdles.

Rest days allow you to fit your workouts around your life rather than the other way around by providing some flexibility to your schedule. This adaptability may also lengthen the duration of your workout regimen. You won't have to risk your training if you can't work out one day; instead, use that time to rest and complete your programme later in the week. This can lead to the development of healthy habits. 

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