To some, taking a day off from training seems counterproductive. But whether you’re working hard for an upcoming fight or simply maintaining your regular fitness routine, the importance of rest days in your schedule should never be underestimated.
Here are five reasons why rest days should definitely be a part of your training regime:
- Your Performance Won’t Take a Hit
In general, your body can go up to two weeks without activity before you start losing any noticeable performance. That’s why one or two rest days a week aren’t going to negatively impact all the hard work you’ve done.
- Over-Training Can Affect Your Sleep
We all need sleep, but too much training without at least some rest can put your body into a state of constant alertness. This can make getting a good night’s sleep very tough. Those crucial rest days away from the gym can help lower your resting heart rate and improve your chances of sleeping better.
- Your Muscles Need Rest
Remember your strength training? Every time you lift weights your muscle fibres tear and unless you allow them to recover and grow, you’re not going to reap the benefits of your hard work.
- Rest Days Help Prevent Injury
Rest days prevent over-training and that’s good for injury prevention. Pushing yourself too hard and for too long, without a break, can cause unnecessary injury to your muscles and joints. Nobody likes being injured.
- Boost Your Mental Edge
A break from training, even just one day, can rekindle your hunger. In the same way your body gets tired, so does your mind, and this mental fatigue can be detrimental to your overall performance. Give your body and mind a rest, and return to the gym hungrier than ever.
So now you’ve seen WHY rest days are important, let’s take a look at some of the activities you can do on them to get the very most out of your time:
Get a Massage
If you’ve ever had a massage, you’ll know how good it feels on your tight, tired and sore muscles. There’s actually a scientific reason for that. Massage therapy triggers sensors in the body which send out inflammation-reducing signals. This encourages the body’s own self-healing process to kick in and results in muscles that are less painful in a short space of time.
Roll Out Those Muscles
While massages feel great and can bring definite benefits, it’s not always possible to have one every rest day. A great DIY alternative is to use a foam roller to smooth out knotted muscles and tight spots.
A foam roller allows you to apply pressure to specific points on your body (a bit like a massage) aiding the recovery of your muscles, enabling them to return to normal function quicker.
Try Your Hand at Dancing
Strange as it may sound, dancing is a great rest day activity to undertake. Ballet dancers are absolute masters of balance, and you can be too if you give it a try.
If ballet’s really not your thing then give salsa dancing a go. It focuses a lot on footwork and requires a good level of concentration - both of which will be highly-beneficial to your overall training regime.
Give Yoga a Go
The great thing about yoga is that absolutely anyone can give it a go. It’s popularity nowadays means that there are more classes than ever before too.
Yoga’s deep breathing and meditation can change your physical and mental capacity in a very short space of time. By relieving stress and de-cluttering your mind, Yoga can help you become even more focussed, which is great when you have an event or goal that you’re working towards.
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