Like most things in life, fitness requires balance. It often happens that we respect the "all or nothing" principle in training, which gradually leads to oversaturation or complete abandonment of training. If we exercise without rest, we increase the risk of injury and expose the body to too much effort, and if we take too many days to rest, then we lose continuity and more easily engage in long periods of inactivity.
This is why it is extremely important to set aside time for rest in balance with an organized training schedule. Why resting is so important, find out below.
1. Muscles are built while we rest
Every time you exercise, you create microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. When you rest, your muscles start to heal and get stronger again, which means you'll be able to do the same exercise with less effort in the future. Muscles develop in the 'repair phase' - when you rest and recharge your batteries.
2. They help avoid injuries
Skipping rest days can lead to longer absences due to injuries. If you exercise when you're tired, you're more likely to use poor form and have less focus on exercise execution. In addition, you are at risk of overuse injuries because you are constantly stressing and straining your body and not giving it the time it needs to recover. So, if you want to avoid weeks or even months of not being able to train, ensure you have enough time to rest.
3. They accelerate your fitness progress
Exercise releases stress hormones and, just as working long hours without days off can negatively impact your health, too much exercise without enough rest can lead to burnout.
Also known as overtraining syndrome, burnout can affect your central nervous system, throwing it off balance. Your central nervous system is made up of different parts including the sympathetic nervous system - which triggers the fight or flight response - and the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body calm down. If you don't take the time you need to rest and recover, then the constant stress of exercise can disrupt your system's natural responses.
4. They help in creating a routine
Rest days make your schedule more flexible - you can organize exercise around other commitments, not the other way around. That flexibility can make your workout routine more sustainable—if you can't work out one day, you can swap it for a rest day and do a workout later in the week. So, incorporating rest as an integral part of your training schedule helps you build long-term healthy habits.
5. It improves the quality of sleep
While regular exercise can improve your sleep, rest is also beneficial in this regard. Physical activity increases energy-boosting hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Constant exercise without rest can lead to an imbalance of these hormones. Rest days can help you sleep better by allowing your hormones to return to a normal, balanced state.
Take time to rest - your body will thank you.