Admit it, when is the last time you took a rest day? If you’re like many Wood River Valley fitness enthusiasts, you haven’t taken a rest day in months. It can be tough to rest in our fitness-focused valley. We tell ourselves it’s because we have too many options for fun outdoor activities. But the truth is, we often see a rest day as failure. But we’ve got it all wrong.
The Importance of Rest and Recovery
Rest isn’t guilt-inducing failure; it’s crucial to your overall fitness and health. If you push yourself hard in the gym and on the trails, your body needs rest for a variety of reasons—some physiological and some psychological.
Rest helps your body repair itself. Exercise can cause tiny tears in the muscles. Rest allows the muscles to repair, rebuild, and become stronger.
Rest helps prevent injury. Many injuries are the result of overuse. When you build rest into your fitness program, you reduce the chances of overuse injury.
Rest improves your mental health. Too much exercise can lead to anxiety and depression as the result of being chronically run down. Rest is crucial to your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Rest can improve your fitness. A rest day doesn’t mean you are losing ground. In fact, the right balance of rest and exercise can actually lead to improve fitness. More exercise isn’t always better. In fact, more exercise sometimes leads to overtraining, which in turn results in decreased fitness.
Strike a Balance
You don’t need to become a professional couch-surfer—you just need to build the right amount of rest into your fitness routine. To strike the right balance, it helps to monitor your fitness with a fitness log, which can help you identify how much rest and recovery your body needs.
You may fear that you will lose results by taking rest days, but the opposite is true. Sometimes rest provides more benefit than exercise. In fact, taking a day off could allow you to go harder during your next workout—and intensity pays.