Rest days are important to any exercise routine. There are many health benefits to rest days, including:
Alleviating muscle pain and soreness: during rest days the body has a chance to remove excess lactate from the muscles.
Repairing and building muscles: exercise creates microscopic tears in muscle tissue and during rest days those tears get repaired.
Replenishing the body’s energy stores: glycogen is a form of energy stored in muscles and when you exercise the glycogen gets depleted which leads to fatigue. Rest days allow muscles to replenish their glycogen stores which helps reduce muscle fatigue.
Preventing injury: overexercising puts repetitive stress and strain on the muscles which can cause injury.
Allowing the mind to rest: overexercising can tire the body as well as the mind. Tiredness can lead to poor decision making during a workout routine, which can also increase the risk of injury.
There are many signs/symptoms that can help you realize when you need a rest day. These signs may include:
Persistent muscle pain or soreness
Inability to complete a workout routine
Continued feelings of sluggishness following a workout
Binge eating or craving comfort foods
Increased incidence of injury or illness
Changes in mood or behavior such as mood shifts, irritability, or insomnia
Reduced beneficial effects of the workout such as decreasing rate of fat loss or muscle gain
If a person does not rest, it can cause them to experience both physical and mental exhaustion. Taking no rest days can also cause the body to have a depletion in glycogen in the muscles. This then causes the body to use proteins for energy, meaning there is less protein available to assist muscle repair and growth.
Rest days are very important to have in your fitness routine and they are vital to progression and muscle growth. Listen to your body and start taking some rest days.