Why Rest Days Matter

Posted on July 16, 2021

Why rest days matter

Whether you exercise to stay in shape, get stronger or just for fun, rest days are just as important as work out days. Scheduling rest days into your workout plan will help you avoid overtraining, which can lead to injury and a longer period of forced rest. 

How rest can maximise the effect of exercise

During rest, our muscles recover from the exertion of exercise and grow stronger. Building muscle might begin in the gym, but the real change happens with rest and nutrition. Make sure rest day meals contain plenty of protein to aid recovery and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, which can help reduce post workout muscle cramps and soreness. Soaking in a bath with epsom salts which are rich in magnesium can help. Magnesium contributes to a reduction of  tiredness and fatigue and normal muscle function. 

Sleep is another essential part of a healthy lifestyle that works alongside exercise to keep you fit. Sleep provides your body with time to recover, conserve energy, repair and build muscles, giving you a stronger foundation for your next exercise session. So an early night is the best way to end a rest day.

Rest days are also important to help maintain consistency. Consistency is key when it comes to exercise, and if you work out day after day with no rest, it can be tougher to stay motivated. Working out consistently four or five times a week can be more effective than a daily work out where you don’t give your all because you’re fatigued, so schedule a rest day to come back refreshed for your next session.

Active recovery or complete rest?

Rest days don’t have to be staying on the sofa days – in fact, some light movement can help your body recover better from working out and improve your performance. Yoga, gentle stretching, walking and other kinds of mindful movement can be incorporated into your rest day routine to aid your recovery, and help you stay active while continuing to rest.

To support your exercise regime, make the most of gym-free days by spending some time on healthy meal prep so you always have quick and nutritious fuel on hand when you are busy working out. 

Remember that rest days aren’t a reason to feel guilty, but an essential part of successful exercise that can help you come back fitter and stronger.