You may be thinking that now that you’ve taken up exercising and are into the groove, you might just do it every day.
You’re to the point where you’re enjoying it and starting to see results and taking any time off may put you off track and make you lose motivation.
Plus, you think to yourself “I’m not working out that hard that I need an entire rest day. I’ll just take an easy day once a week.”
Think again. Rest days are just as important a part of your training cycle as workout days.
Here’s why you need to be resting:
Your muscles need to rebuild
The continuous working of your muscles from regular workouts, while very good for them and encouraging for strengthening, also causes small micro tears in your muscles. These tears will repair themselves when given time (i.e. a rest day), but when not given the chance, will potentially lead to bigger tears and more problems.
Your stress hormones increase
You may be doing exercise to relieve stress, (which is a great idea), but failure to give yourself a rest day may negate all your efforts. Physical stress is interpreted the same by the body as psychological stress, or the stress of your job and causes your body to release cortisol. This is the stress hormone, which when in large quantities in the body can inhibit weight loss. Give yourself a rest day so you prevent the release of excess cortisol and are able to keep on track with your weight loss goals.
It messes with your mind
Failure to give yourself adequate rest not only affects you physically, buy psychologically as well. You may notice an increase in irritability, increased levels of depression or moodiness, lack of motivation or general lethargy and brain fog. Your mind needs a rest too!
You’ll be exhausted all the time
Just like you sleep when you are tired, your muscles and body also needs to rest when it is tired, and one of the things that tires you out is excessive exercise. Failure to give your body enough rest will put you in a constant state of exhaustion where you will feel lazy, lethargic, low in energy, and likely won’t feel like working out at all!
Your performance will suffer
If you are training hard for a completion or race, you will notice a decrease in performance and improvement if you fail to rest enough. Your body will continue to try to improve through training, but if you don’t give it the necessary tools to do so, such as good fuel, water and adequate rest and recovery then you will go backwards and see a decline in performance rather than see things getting better!
You may lose motivation
The combination of being physically and mentally exhausted, failing o see improvements in your performance, and the constant feeling of being down will probably be enough to put a damper on your motivation and desire to do the sport and exercise that you once loved. In other words, failure to rest and take one day off, will eventually lead you to taking several days off because you just can’t be bothered to workout any more at all.