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"You can sleep when you're dead."
Resting is not something our culture really seems to think highly of. In fact, many people tend to assume that people who take time to relax and rest up are lazy. Nowhere is this more true than in the health, bodybuilding, and weight loss communities.
Among fitness fans, the idea of taking a rest day may make some feel guilty, as if they aren't "doing enough" to stay fit. Some even shun rest days as "for wimps."
Though actually taking a break from exercise or work may make you feel like you're just being lazy, the truth is that there are many benefits of rest days in your workout routine. Need some reasons to slow things down?
Take a look at the following reasons why your body needs to reap the benefits of rest days before you start getting ready for your next marathon or competition.
Your body and mind both need time to recover.
One of the biggest benefits of rest days is the fact that it allows your body to go back to a "ready to go" state. You need rest in order to recover, recharge, and revitalize yourself.
This is true if it's a workout or just working on a project with your coworkers. We are human, and the human body needs to take a break from working. Refusing to take time to rest will always result in your body breaking down.
You might not get a sprained ankle, but your lack of resting will show up in one way or another. You might get cranky. You might end up having your immune system compromised. You get the point—recovery is good for both your mind and your body.
The benefits of rest days are many. The most obvious benefit is that you get to recover.
Rest days also allow you to build muscle.
Studies have shown that rest days are an ideal time to build muscle. In fact, rest days are the times that allow your bones, muscles, and nerves to rebuild. That's why you often will get sore a day after you really hit the gym hard.
During your rest days, the food you eat and the water you drink will end up nourishing your bones and your body. This is why many bodybuilders end up seeing better results when they incorporate rest days into their routines.
Additionally, the muscle-building benefits of rest days also can pay off on the weight loss front, too. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so along with getting a "fit" look, you also will lose weight more rapidly if you gain more muscle.
One of the benefits of rest days most coaches won't tell you is that it keeps you away from Overtraining Syndrome.
Have you ever seen an office employee who is working themselves to the bone? They may not have seen their families in weeks, they may have ended up having a nervous meltdown, or worse. In a weird way, if you exercise too much, your body will end up being that office worker.
When you don't stop working certain body parts, you end up with a slew of different symptoms. These can include sore joints, fatigue, mood swings, altered hormones, as well as sleep disturbances. When all those symptoms mesh together, it's called Overtraining Syndrome—and it's a sign you're working yourself too thin.
It's not like your performance will dip if you rest.
One of the benefits of rest days in a workout routine is that it's basically like a "free treat." You will not lose the gains if you rest up two or three days per week. In fact, your weight loss goals and fitness goals won't be altered at all.
Weekly rest days actually don't harm your performance. Resting helps you unlock all the perks of exercise. In fact, many top coaches will tell you to rest up the day before a major competition because it helps return your body to peak condition. It also sharpens up your mind, so you can get your head in the game.
One of the benefits of rest days you also need to consider is the effects it has on your lifestyle.
Everything that is healthy should be done in moderation. Eating too much food can cause you to get sick, even if all the food is good for you. Drinking too much water, too, can cause serious health problems in the form of water toxicity. Exercise can be a source of imbalance, too.
At times, taking rest days is a good way to remind yourself that moderation is key to a happy and balanced life. That reminder alone can help you put a lot of things into perspective.
It also reduces the chance that you might end up just burning out from workouts.
Have you ever done something so much that you ended up burning out from what you were doing? There have been many people who used to work out every day, who, after exercising to the point that they got sick, just walked away from the habit.
Yes, it's possible to burn out from exercise addiction on an emotional level. One of the benefits of rest days that people won't tell you about is that taking a break can keep you interested in staying fit. After all, if fitness is your life, you probably will get sick of it eventually.