Things change as we get older and wiser. And I say thank goodness to that. The way I dress, think, eat and, yes, exercise has changed. I am happy to say that gone are the days when I thought I had to beat myself up, do high impact aerobics or run every single day, Gone is that “no pain no gain” mentality. And I say again, thank goodness!
These days I schedule dedicated rest days into the week, and relish in them without feeling a bit of guilt. I look at them as great days to recover, regroup and re-energize.
What happens when you give your body that much needed time to rest? The muscles repair themselves and your energy gets a reboot. If you push your body every single day of the week, you may be doing more harm than good. Any goals you are trying to obtain through your workouts could easily be undermined.
Sometimes I take one day off a week. Other than some light yoga today, I am taking the day off. If you really listen to your body you will know when to take that day off. Generally a Tuesday is not a rest day; however, I was really tired and and sore so being the smarter and wiser older person I am now, I decided to simply listen and let some recovery happen. During a normal week, I take a day, and sometimes two days off during the weekend. That seems to keep me fresh, help me recover and be ready and excited to begin Monday morning off with a bang. However, what works for me may not be your rule. What you are doing, how hard you are working and the type of exercises you are doing will mandate how many rest days you need during a week.
As a general rule, if your muscles are sore or tired the day after a tough workout, you need some time to rest. The harder you push yourself, the more rest you need. One rest day per week is a general rule of thumb, but that might not be enough for you. If you’re really stepping up your weight lifting, for example, you may need to give yourself an extra day. As a general guideline, it’s pretty safe — and recommended — to do ~30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity most days. But, if you’re aiming to improve your endurance you may not get much benefit from training more than 4-5 days/week. More doesn’t always equal more. credit
As your fitness improves, don’t think that since you are stronger and in better shape that you do not need to rest. In fact, as you become fitter, your workouts likely are getting harder. Those harder workouts make taking a rest day even more important.
When I say rest day, I’m not saying go from the bed to lying on the couch all day. I mean more of an active rest day. Move around with a walk, yoga, gardening, or light activity, staying away from stressing the muscles that have been working so hard all week or even just the day before.
When you ignore your body and ignore giving it time to rest, you may begin to feel run down, tired, and fatigued. Your immune system will suffer leaving you wide open to catching a bug. You are also prone to over training and have a higher chance of getting an injury or overuse injury.
If and when those things happen, you may be forced to take time out and we all know that’s no fun. We don’t want forced rest days!
So, think of putting rest days into your workout schedule just as you would strength days, speed days, stretch and flexibility training or cardio sessions. Think of these days as part of your workout routine and a key part to meeting your fitness goals.
What is your day today? Workout or Rest? How many rest days do you take a week?
Enjoy Your Day!