Many of us have a hard time taking a day off from sports, fitness, and other physical activities. A rest day seems a bit lazy, and if you are like me, being active is key to mental and physical wellness.
However, most health and fitness experts recommend that we do take a day away from the gym for recovery and relief. By framing your rest day more positively and taking advantage of this non-training time, you will realize key gains to your athletic performance and your overall wellness.
It’s easy to lose sight of a rest day, particularly if you are working toward a specific athletic goal. When I was training for my first triathlon, two workouts a day of 1-3 hours each cut into my life in many ways. I had to recognize when to pull back a bit and meet the many other obligations in my life. I had to be cautious, too, about overtraining.
Overtraining is not all that uncommon, and it’s critical that you be aware of the warning signs. Watch for excessive fatigue, the kind of tired that makes you feel drained all of the time, not just after your workout.
Overuse injuries are another indicator of overtraining; consult with your physiotherapist if you have pain. Other symptoms include lack of appetite, weight loss or gain, mood changes, poor sleep, and a lack of motivation.
By making a rest day a focused part of your weekly fitness plan, you can avoid the sidelining symptoms of overtraining.
Why Get Your Rest Day?
1. The reasons that a rest day is essential include giving your body a chance to adapt to the challenges you have presented.
A rest day allows for muscle recovery and growth, an opportunity for your nervous system to recover and replenish your energy stores.
Research shows that the inclusion of a rest day reduces your risk of an injury.
A rest day offers you time to reflect on your fitness plan and address any gaps or areas that just aren’t working for you.
Consider your next rest day as an opportunity to do something personal, enjoyable, and maybe something on your bucket list.
2. A rest day does not have to be completely passive, and it can be a day that further improves your athletic performance.
Take this day to let your body recover from all of those gut-busting workouts and also to give your body some much-deserved relief. Your rest day is a great time to work out muscle tightness and soreness by using massage rollers and spiky massage balls.
For example, rolling a spiky massage ball under your feet for just a few minutes on your rest day will ease tightness, release tension, and improve circulation.
Use your rest day to try out a high-quality kinesiology tape on any areas of soreness or where you feel that you could benefit from additional support and pain reduction. Physix Gear Sport kinesiology tape offers both, and the tape can withstand activity, water and won’t roll off.
Your rest day may mean binge-watching your favorite show all day, and that’s just fine. However, your rest day can be so much more, and by implementing a recovery and relief approach to your training, you may realize even more outstanding results in your athletic performance.