As stated in our blog Common Fitness Myths Debunked!: “Intense workouts 7 days a week for weeks at a time SOUNDS like a really great way to keep fit and maintain muscle. However, your body needs rest in order to properly repair and restore the muscles. Just as proper nutrition, exercise and sleep are important, so are rest and days off from the gym. Taking the time to let your body recharge is crucial for not only your muscles, but also your overall health, mind and life balance.”
Personally, I have struggled with allowing myself to take proper rest days. I would get so set in my routine and focused on my goals, that I would push myself so hard and end up with some sort of pain, which I would then ignore. Ignoring the signs that my body would need a rest, resulted in not only injury, but would force me to have to stop and rest my body to repair the injury. Luckily, I learned how to properly rehab and take care of my body when needed, but couldn’t this have been avoided if I just listened to my body in the first place? The answer is yes. Your body will send signals, such as pain, when it is in danger of a larger injury and needs rest. I have gone through many trial and errors through my fitness journey so far and one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is not listening to my body and confusing exhaustion with lack of motivation. I had to learn that it is OKAY to slow down every now and again. It is OKAY to rest and recharge. I even often found myself feeling stronger and more motivated once I took that time to myself.
Sometimes, when you have a fitness goal in mind and find your groove, it is hard to slow down for fear that your efforts and results will backtrack, just as I once felt. However, that could not be further from the truth. Your body is smart. When it is beat up over and over again, it has no time to recover. Not taking rest days can eventually slow down your progress and dim your motivation due to exhaustion. Just as it takes discipline to get to the gym and stay on your diet, it also takes discipline to rest.
Remember: train hard, recover harder. Take an active rest day! A rest day does not always mean lay on the couch and do nothing, although that is also nice and feels good some days. Get out and ride a bike, go on a walk, swim- anything! Enjoy your life and enjoy reaping the physical and mental benefits from resting your body.