Importance of Rest Days
Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice because destiny is what only you can create. But what gets you on board is Motivation – the motivation to reach your goals and self-expectations. Motivation might be different for different people. While some might like to enjoy the benefits of mental health of exercising, a few others might love the serene feeling of yoga or the aggression that is attached with boxing. Whatever kind of motivation it is, if you can find the right motivation for yourself and the right track to perform, nothing could bring you to halt. Indisputably, the person who is motivated to dream, to start working and to achieve, can never be stopped. Often, motivation could be raging, not letting you to rest and constantly thrust you to get up, lace up your sneaks and get to sweating. But making your body work so hard without a break – Is it right? Or does your body deserve a break? Does everyday training work best? or workout routine with a schedule for rest days is an efficient workout?
When you go through Instagram of those truly dedicated gym enthusiasts, it is normal to blindly believe that they never take a day off from their routine of working out. But don’t let those picture-perfect, immaculate photos keep you from giving your body the time it needs to heal and to bounce back again on track. Your body deserves a break for all the tedious work it is doing.
Why are Rest Days Important?
Your body is undergoing rigorous physical exercise or training during the workout. But your body needs more than just weights, barbells and dumbbells to function optimally and to build muscles. It needs Rest! Rest days are inactive or active breaks from the gym routine.
For serious lifters, the rest days could be a nightmare. Rather than enjoying the day off and letting the body and mind rest, they keep spending free hours in torture, imagining what they could have done if they were in the gym. When that mindset takes over, you would be reluctant to let yourself laze around and instead hit the gym as soon as possible, spending hour after hour in the gym, day after day feeding the inner demon in yourself causing severe damage to your body.
During a rigorous training session, the muscle tissues experience micro-tears, the energy stored in the muscle gets depleted and the body loses fluid and your body needs time to heal itself. That is why your body needs rest days in between your workout days. The rest time you provide your body helps the muscles to change, adapt and ultimately get stronger to jump right back into performance mode. After all, there is a virtue in the workout and so is in resting. Overlooking any of it could end up slowing your progress or even worse, could pose menacing effects to your body.
What constitutes a Rest-day?
Basically, a rest day constitutes of the activities that recharge and resets your mind and body. The level of activity or inactivity during rest days depends entirely on the intensity of workout leading up to it. If you are a gym lover and killing in the gym day in and day out, your body definitely needs a complete day off. If you are a hater of rest days, you might choose to go for a casual walk which doesn’t need any greater physical efforts. However, if your workouts have been of light to moderate intensity and not sweating out as much as you should all week or if you are a newbie to the exercising, you can opt for an active recovery day such as playing outdoor sports, opting for yoga classes or going for a long walk. But whatever type of activity you opt for during the rest-days, ensure the rest is not only just physical but also mental. Let the rest-day provide the necessary rest to your body and refresh your mind.
How often should you have a rest day?
To design a perfect gym program, there are many factors that need to be considered – be it sets and reps, exercise order or weights. But have you ever considered and emphasized the rest time as a factor while planning your gym program? It is not just you, most of us give least thought about the downtime during gym work. But as aforementioned, rest time is to recover and rebuild your body while assisting in residual fatigue. It is as necessary as the workout could be.
If you are the newbie in the gym or a starting out with a new exercise regimen, rest every third day (work for two consecutive days and take rest in the third). Have a plan for your gym workout. Work on Chest+Triceps on the first day, Legs+Shoulders on the second day and take rest on the third day. Let the fourth day be dedicated for Back and Biceps, the fifth day for abs and obliques and on the sixth day, let your body rest. This kind of plan helps in bodybuilding, muscle making, and strength gains.
If you are veteran in exercising, you should remain inactive or take an active recovery day once a week. Also, ensure every eight weeks of your training include a week where you de-train your body or decrease your training load.
How to schedule these rest-days in between your workout days is up to you. You could follow your workout routine Monday through Friday and take a complete rest or opt for active rest-day the whole weekend (Saturday and Sunday). Or you could prefer to distribute the rest-days like doing a strength day, a cardio day and then relish the rest day before getting back to the weight training. Although the order is not necessary, it is not suggested to work on the similar muscle group for two days in a row.
As much as working hard is important to build bulky muscles, resting hard is important too. After all, a day to rest and recharge the mind and body is not a want, it is a need! But what if the workouts are not a chore and if the workouts don’t feel like a workout at all?! Zumba or a regular dance party or a brisk walk with your companion are the workouts which are fun, rejuvenating and contagious! These help in full body workouts but doesn’t need any rest days as such unlike the rigorous gym routine for bodybuilding. So, although sometimes making progress means opting for the rest day, often it could be a regular enjoyable workout too!