Rest and Recovery Days are Important for your Fitness

If you’ve been working out, you’ve probably heard someone talk about about rest or recovery. You may also be wondering what’s the difference between the two and how do they benefit your workout routine.

Rest vs. Recovery

The major difference is the level of activity. Rest days are just what they sound like. You might lie around on your couch watching movies or just avoid doing anything strenuous. Recovery days mean you engage in exercise, but it’s significantly less intense than your usual workouts.

Benefits of Rest and Recovery:

  • Prevent injuries. Taking time off reduces the risk of accidents and overuse injuries. You’re giving your body a chance to heal between workouts and replenish its energy. You’re also fighting mental fatigue.

  • Reduce muscle soreness.

  • Make more progress. Both passive and active rest allow your body to repair micro tears in your muscles that occur while exercising, so you grow stronger.


Scheduling Rest and Recovery Days:

After a really Intense workout follow it up with a less intense one the next day, give your body time to recover from the hard work.

Develop a system and stick to it. Choose a day or two every week and plan ahead for activities and workouts that allow for recovery and rest.

Spot overtraining. If you’re getting tired, irritable, and you’re experiencing more injuries, it’s probably wise to take some time off.

Listen to your body. How much rest and recovery you need is an individual matter. Pay attention to how you feel before, during, and after your workouts. Find a balance that allows you to make progress and enjoy yourself.


How to Spend Your Rest and Recovery Days:

Do gentle aerobics. The general rule for a recovery day is to work out at about one half of your usual intensity. Depending on your fitness level, that might mean going for a short run or taking a walk. Biking and swimming are also helpful options.

Try yoga. Many yoga poses can be restorative. Sign up for a yin yoga class that focuses on static stretching or find an all-levels community class in your neighborhood. Buy a book that will help you create your own routine to do at home or practice along with a video.

Switch it up by using light weights. Lifting heavy weights will build up your muscles as long as you respect your limits. Spend some days lifting half your usual load and concentrate on proper form and execution.

Cross train. Varying your workouts keeps things interesting and helps you to master new skills. When you’re cross training on an active rest day, just be sure to pick an activity that allows you to maintain a moderate pace.

Have fun. Live it up while you’re recovering. Go out dancing, enjoy a hike or other outdoor activity. Do anything that makes you smile and gets you moving around a little.

Adequate rest and recovery protect you from injuries and helps you get the results you want from working out. Enjoy your downtime, knowing that you’re making your fitness goals possible.

Share in the comments your favorite way of taking a rest day!