You work hard during your workouts and have dedicated yourself to revamping your diet. If you are on a roll with making positive lifestyle changes, why would you want to consider taking a rest day? Believe it or not, rest days are vital to any healthy lifestyle. Read on to learn why resting from exercise is just as important as actually exercising.
Boost Your Immune System
You know that working out has a wide array of positive benefits for your health. You can improve your cardiovascular system, lower bad cholesterol, improve your brain function, and build muscle strength. Regular exercise can also boost your energy levels and improve your digestive function. What about your immune system though?
However, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Studies have shown that when exercising at high to moderate intensities most athletes benefit from a rest day after 2 days of exercise. If they continue to exercise for more than 2 days without a rest day, they are more likely to experience a lowered immune system. In a study published in Frontiers in Physiology it expounds upon this, stating, “Considering this immune response, it would be recommended to incorporate a rest day following two consecutive days of high-intensity intermittent running to minimize immune cell modulations and reduce potential susceptibility to infections.”
Repair Muscles and Tendons
When you exercise you break down your muscle tissue. You cause micro tears in the muscle during exercise. When your body repairs these tears your muscles get stronger. However, if your muscles are constantly being torn down then this repair can’t happen.
Exercise also puts stress on your tendons, ligaments, and bones. Without a proper recovery plan you are more likely to suffer an injury due to the continued stress on these systems. In an article for Well Bridge, Sarah Gibson, NASM CPT, states, “As we work out, we place greater strain on our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Our immune system is activated when there are muscle tears or joint strains, but if the body doesn’t come out of continual practice, this system doesn’t have the time to catch up and start patching everything back up.”
Improved Mental Outlook
Just as your body needs rest, your mind also needs a break from exercise from time to time. Taking a rest day can provide a much needed mental break so you can maintain your training intensity over time. Breaking Muscle highlights the benefits of finding a balance by asserting, “A balanced combination of rest and recovery along with proper diet and exercise should be a part of any fitness regimen. Unless you are competing at an elite level, you should follow the follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your time can be spent focusing on diet and exercise, while twenty percent should be left for enjoying life. In other words, don’t let yourself get too wrapped up in perfection.”
Include Rest Days in Your Routine
No matter what your current fitness level is, rest is necessary in order to fully reap the benefits of your exercise program. Incorporate rest days into your schedule, and give your body and mind a break. You will come back even stronger.