Do you think a workout can’t get you exhausted? Think again. In fact, working out without rest days do you more harm than good.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), overtraining makes you prone to overuse injury, takes a toll on your performance, harms your motivation, and makes exercise boring.
Rest is an integral part of a fitness regime. In addition, the body needs intermittent breaks to recover completely. They will keep you going for a long time without letting you break down.
Having a hard time knowing when to take a day off?
Here’s why a workout rest day is important and what signs to look for to know you need one.
Why are Rest Days Important For You?
Taking a rest day shouldn’t be seen as laziness. Look at the benefits that regular rest days bring to your body:
Offer Recovery Time
Contrary to common belief, you continue to reap the positive effects of a hard workout week on a rest day. Moreover, a rest day does not mean you should spend all day lying on a couch.
When you train, it creates tiny microscopic tears in your muscles. These tears are responsible for the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) you feel after an intense workout session.
However, on a rest day, fibroblasts repair them. Consequently, your muscles grow stronger than before to bear an intense workout next time. Ideally, you should have at least one rest day to give ample time to your muscles to recover.
Keeps You From Injury
If not given time to recover, muscle tears can lead to a more dreadful condition called muscle sprains. If your muscle, by any chance, sprains, then you surely would be missing a lot more days of exercise than just one.
Also, fatigue is another consequence of overtraining. When fatigued, you’re likely to be less active, meaning you may lose balance, drop weight on yourself or disturb your angle during the workout. All these factors can lead to severe injuries such as stress fractures or strains.
Gives You Motivation
Why does one workout? Aside from the health benefits, working out is also fun for a lot of people. However, exercising continuously without breaks seems more like a chore. Hence, the fun part starts waning.
For instance, you would not want to run an extra mile or hit an extra set of biceps with all the fatigue you have. Moreover, your focus would also take a toll. Resultantly, you’d not put in extra effort, and your body wouldn’t give extra results.
Therefore, you need rest days to let your body recover and muster up the motivation again for the next week.
5 Signs You Need a Rest Day
Now that you know the immense advantages of taking workout rest days, let’s talk about the ways your body tells it needs rest.
Here are five signs that might indicate it’s time to take a break.
1. Your Muscles Are Sore
By and large, muscle soreness means you’re doing it right. Also, if you’re new to exercise or a particular fitness routine, DOMS is normal. However, if the soreness persists even after weeks of continuous workout, it’s as clear as daylight that you need a break.
According to studies, muscles usually recover within 48-72 hours. But if you are still feeling sore after that time, it is a clear indication of overtraining.
A different study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) suggests that muscles’ recovery period can range from two days up to a week depending on the exercise you did.
So, once you get this particular sign, you should immediately know that your body needs a rest day.
2. Your Resting Heart Rate Is Abnormal
Calculating your heart rate after waking up in the morning is a simple yet effective trick to know your body’s condition. Just put a finger on your wrist where your pulse is and feel beats per minute.
If it’s above normal, your body is not actually up for a workout. An elevated heartbeat is a clear signal of stress and fatigue.
To be sure, you can check your heart rate every morning. If it’s above normal, it’s one of the signs you need a rest day.
3. You‘re Constantly Moody
Typically, exercise is linked to mood enhancement. On the contrary, overtraining makes you moody, depressed, and tired.
When you exercise, your brain releases two hormones, namely endorphins and cortisol. Endorphins fight stress, while cortisol is a stress hormone.
Excessive workout leads to more cortisol production, and when its levels remain high for a longer period, your mental health gets affected. Therefore, when you start feeling uncharacteristic crankiness, you should take a day’s break from the workout to get things back in place.
4. You Feel Sick
Harder training without any break potentially makes you prone to illnesses. The continuous catabolic activity weakens your immune system.
Hence, you’ll be at greater risk of catching a cold or infection despite being healthy apparently. If you are facing a similar situation, take a rest day and maybe see a doctor.
5. Your Sleep Pattern is Affected
Disturbance in sleeping patterns or new-onset insomnia is one of the major signs of overtraining. Hard and continuous exercise overstimulates your central nervous system since it’s trying to repair your muscles.
If you can’t sleep well, even when you feel tired, you certainly need a workout rest day. Not being able to sleep well for successive two or three days will take a toll on your immunity, cognitive abilities, and endurance.
Therefore a rest day or two would harm no one but only help you get your sleep pattern in order.
Rest days, in a way, complement your workout regime. If you overtrain without a pause, your body will start giving signs you need a rest day. However, a rest day does not mean you should be sedentary. You can always do light stretching or go for a walk.
Some of the signs your body might give when it needs a workout rest day are well-explained above. Follow them to be sure when to take one.