I often speak to people both inside and out of the gym who describe these non-stop programs that have them doing some sort of physical activity seven days a week. These individuals often appear to feel guilty about taking a day off, believing that pushing themselves daily is the key to meeting your goals. Though I do agree that hard work is key to success, one of the most important pieces of the health puzzle is getting enough rest. Allotting yourself the proper amount of time to rest is highly important when it comes to ensuring your health and promoting optimum fitness levels.
Rest is important to factor into your regimen as without rest, you cannot recover. Your body needs to have its “down time “to restore the glycogen depleted during your workouts and adapt to the stressors of exercise. Restoring your glycogen allows your body to replenish its energy. Your body breaks down muscle tissue when you exercise. If you do not allow for your body to rest and recover, you can run the risk of overtraining. Overtraining occurs when you continuously break down your muscles and they are unable to heal. Some symptoms of over training are feeling generally sick, fatigue, low motivation, and increased rate of injury.
There are two types of recovery that should be built in to every exercise regimen. Those are active and long term recovery. Active recovery refers to light movement preformed post exercise. This could include things such as walking or stretching. This type of recovery allows for your blood pressure to return to normal as well as allows you to ensure your muscles are cared for as needed to prevent injury. Active recovery also includes ensuring you are restoring fluids and nutrients to your body post workout. You need to ensure you get protein to those muscles so your body can utilize it to repair damage done! The second type of re st that should be incorporated is long term. This refers to the built in”days”to your week where you do not go to the gym or workout. These days allow your muscles to repair and your body to relax while doing the work it needs to maintain your physical health. Always keep in mind, your health is an equation and every part of that equation is important to meeting your goals. How you look and feel is 70% diet, 10% exercise, 10% rest, and the final 10% is genetics!