On pages such as this you will see recommendations for all sorts of exercise, as well as motivational tips on how to get yourself in the right headspace so as to help melt away feelings of lethargy.
Sometimes though, it is important to take a step back. Rest days are just as important as days spent sweating in the gym and the two must work in complete symbiosis with each other if you are to achieve your goals. Less, as the they say, is sometimes more.
Skipping rest days can lead to burnout, which in turn leaves you open to skipping exercise days for other reasons entirely so in order to be at your peak both physically and mentally, you must afford yourself some time to cool off and reacquaint yourself with your couch.
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But what exactly are the benefits of having a healthy balance between exercise and rest?
It allows time for recovery
Rest is essential for muscle growth, and this happens while you are resting. As we all know, exercise creates tiny tears in your muscles which are repaired while you rest and return stronger than before. Rest also allows your to replenish your stores of glycogen which power the actual workout itself.
It helps prevent muscle fatigue
If you don’t have suitable levels of glycogen (or if you have used it frequently) you will have have less energy to work as hard as you desire.
It helps you avoid injury
Rest is essential for staying safe while working out. If you are overworked the chances of you dropping a weight, losing your form or injuring yourself increase greatly.
Rest improves performance
When you are tired, that extra set of reps or the extra mile on the treadmill can seem like an impossible ask. Contrary to what some people believe, overtraining can actually lead to you having reduced times, less endurance and declined agility.
It supports healthy sleep
Regular exercise helps improve sleep, but taking your rest days is also crucial to this. Exercise promotes production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Constant exercise can lead to an overproduction of these, however, which can make drifting off to sleep a thankless task and if you have a hard time sleeping that will only lead to further exhaustion and fatigue. A rest day will allow your body to bring these hormone levels back down to normal levels.