Why is rest so important?

We’re celebrating this Sunday by discussing why rest days are so important. It’s easy to get caught up in a workout rhythm, but scheduling rest days at least once a week are vital to maintaining your fitness and reaching your bigger goals. On top of that, they benefit mental health and overall physical health by allowing our bodies to recover and recuperate.

Rest days don’t just prevent injury by giving our muscles and joints the break they’ve earned, but they also help our bodies recover from injury. It would be nice if we were built to just go-go-go, but the human body needs rest. When you push yourself too hard, muscles, joints and bones start to break down. A rest day will give your system the regeneration it needs to rest and recover, and then get back to it the next day.

Sometimes we’re afraid to take the rest day because we don’t want to get out of our workout rhythm, especially if we’ve just started. But rest days actually affect your workouts in a positive way by maximizing your performance and minimizing soreness and fatigue.

Rest days also help you get better sleep. Overworking your body can increase your resting heart rate which puts your body in a state of constant restlessness. It’s important to slow your routine down at least one day a week, so your body has a chance to relax. These rest days will build in a better sleep cycle overall. And as an added benefit, rest days will naturally keep you motivated. If you don’t have to look ahead to an endless schedule of constant working out, but can instead, look forward to taking it easy once or twice a week, you’re more likely to work harder at your planned workout sessions because you know you have a break coming up. People who work out constantly without giving themselves a day off, burn out quicker and are less likely to come back to exercising for fear of the same fatigue.

Finally, one of the best benefits of scheduled rest days is giving your mind a break. Exercising, in moderation, can enhance brain function and connectivity. But your brain, like your body, can’t perform at high levels constantly without injury—whether that’s fatigue, anxiety, a constant sense of being overwhelmed, or something else—your brain will force your body to stop if you don’t take careful precautions and work in rest.

Be proud of the workout routine you’ve built into your busy life. But give yourself a break, at least once a week, so you can make the most out of every workout day. And every rest day.

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