Photo from Burst
Is it time for a rest day?
While of course, it's totally dependent on the individual and there are lots of factors that contribute to one’s readiness to work out, there are some bold, commonly applicable signs that are a good indicator that it might be time for a rest day.
Paying attention to these and listening to your body is important because failure to do so could leave you sick, injured, or suffering from overtraining syndrome.
Do you need a day off? Here are 4 ways to find out...
1. You are Permanently Fatigued
If you are overcome with that full body fatigue that leaves you feeling like all you want to do is lie on the couch, it might be a good day to take a break. It is normal when working out regularly to have certain parts of your body be tired, fatigued or sore, such as your upper body from arms day, or your legs from a hard run session, but if your whole body is suffering, this is an indicator of something bigger. In this incidence, the fatigue may be coming from a cellular and systemic level, instead of localized muscles and it is worth it to pay attention and give yourself a day off.
2. Your Muscles Don’t Seem to be Recovering
Sore muscles in the two to three days after a workout is not uncommon, and in fact is a good indicator that you have worked your body to a good level where it can build, grow and develop. This soreness should only last a few days however, and by then your body should have been able to mobilize resources well enough to facilitate repair and recovery. If this isn’t the case, your body needs more time to do this! Give it an extra day of rest, make sure you are drinking adequate water and taking in enough calories to offer the resources your body needs to complete recovery.
3. You Have a Persistent Cold
When we are overworked, tired and the body isn’t rested well enough, the immune system is the one that takes the flak. It tries to help us by warding off potential illness, fighting incoming bacteria, and repairing damaged cells, but without enough sleep, and without the rest of the body functioning optimally, it is fighting a losing battle. This means that instead of being able to ward off illness, the body becomes more vulnerable and more likely to get sick.
This may be presented as a cold that just won’t go away, or other immunity related symptoms, such as gut distress, headaches, or sinusitis.
4. You Have Been Training Hard
Perhaps the most difficult one to gauge, when you train hard, your body may not show signs that it needs a rest until it is too late. For example, if you have just run a marathon, or are going through a marathon training cycle, it is important to take adequate rest days even on the days that you feel like you can still run. Failure to do so will result in cumulative stress on the body, which can add up to negative long term health effects such as illness, injury, or the aforementioned overtraining syndrome.
While you may not want to take a day off or feel as if you need it, in the end, it could be the best idea – and save you lots of problems down the road!
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH – Viand Nutrition