Resting Your Mind and Body to Grow You Muscles
by Abby Austin
For committed weight lifters, rest days can be the worst, thought to sabotage gains. For those new to fitness, it can be a relief getting time away from the gym. Regardless of your feelings towards it, rest days are an essential part of training.
The intensity of your workouts leading up to it will determine how inactive you are on your rest day. If you’ve been lifting hard everyday , varying targeted muscles, and challenging your body, maybe a full day off of not staining yourself is in order. If you have had a week full of light to moderate workout intensity, you may want to take an active rest day. This may be a yoga class, organized sports game, or a long walk. Whatever form of rest you partake, don’t forget a rest day is also to help your mind wind down as well. Mental fatigue can be just as damaging as physical; rest helps to recharge body and mind.
While the amount of rest we need depends on your genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors; ultimately you should listen to your body. There is no one size fits all approach to rest and recovery, but its recommended that one day of rest per week is best. However, if you don’t need a break for two weeks, and your rotating your concentrated muscles, that’s fine. Research advises that muscle soreness can peak two days after exercise. Therefore, each muscle group is suggested to need 48 hours to recover from exercise and prevent injury.
The Importance of Rest and Recovery
Time off from exercising permits your body to recuperate and strengthen itself between workouts. It is rest that allows you to increase your weight and the number of sets or reps while training. When you work out, you strain your muscles, joints, ligaments and bones leading to muscle tissue breakdown, fluid loss, and depletion of energy stores. Recovery time enables the energy stores to be replaced and repairs tissue. If there is not enough time taken to restore and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from overtraining. Overtraining leads to a decline in performance, strength, and higher susceptibility to injury. Overtraining also affects sleep; too much exercise can leave you restless and on anxious making catching z’s difficult.
No need to feel guilty when taking a day off, your body thrives from rest. Take time to reflect and have gratitude for how far you’ve already come.
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