Whatever the reason, the majority of our culture is focused on fast. Fast food, fast cars, fast results. When we want something, we want it now and will try to do anything in order to speed up the process. But, when it comes to your body, constantly testing the limits won’t always get results.
Yes, it is advised that all able adults get at least 30 minutes of cumulative exercise every day. This could be anything from low to moderate impact like walking or swimming. Most likely, these activities aren’t going to leave you sore or aching the next day. There are, however, different rules for resting in-between intense workouts.
People that don’t allow their bodies to rest enough in between workouts run the risk of overtraining. Overtraining has various symptoms including fatigue, muscle tightness and decreased muscle strength. After continuous overtraining, someone may find that he or she is unable to perform as well as before, and may need days or weeks of resting time.
To avoid overtraining try to include two to three rest days during each week. Remember, high intensity exercise and weight training creates miniscule tears in your muscles. The only way for the tears to repair themselves, and form stronger muscles, is to rest them. Working the same aching muscles day after day will not allow the tears to heal, and will eventually create weaker muscles that are more prone to injury.
The best advice is to listen to your body and respond as necessary. If you’ve pushed yourself during your workout the day before, and could barely get out of bed the next morning, it might be best for you to have a rest day or two.
If you need some type of exercise on your rest day, try something that is low impact. Go for a 30 minute walk, do some light yoga and stretching, or moderately work another muscle group. Avoid working the same muscle group in successive days.
Exercise is great for many reasons, but as with anything, should not be overdone. Incorporate rest days into your schedule, your muscles will thank you for it!
Photo Credit: Peter Dutton