It’s important to realize how vital rest between workouts are. They give the body a chance to rebuild and repair itself after an intense workout. Lifting weights and/or doing body weight exercises causes micro tears in your muscles. Resting allows the body to repair these muscles and because of the stress put on these muscles your body automatically rebuilds them a little stronger and bigger than before. Isn’t the body a wonderful thing?
BUT, a rest day doesn’t mean you lie on the couch all day drinking soda and eating potatoes chips! You need to do three things. These three things will speed your recovery and prepare you for your next workout session.
1. Flood your body with nutrients from real foo;. juice and or smoothies, lots of veggies, fruit, lean protein and water. Your body desperately needs these to repair & rebuild. You should make a point to drink plenty of fluids as your body needs to hydrate itself after an intense workout. I also like to add a scoop of whey protein powder to my smoothies giving my muscles a boost.
2. Do some physical activity! The one I like the best is walking. But you can also do gentle stretching, Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi and/or swimming. This is not a time to push for your personal best like walking an extra mile. Take it easy!
3. Get plenty of sleep! We all know that sleep is the body’s way of giving our minds and bodies a chance to repair and heal. Don’t short change your fitness program by cheating yourself out of a good night’s sleep. If possible take a short “power nap” during the day. Your body will thank you for it!
Optional: This is also a great time to practice meditation, listen to soothing music or pursue a hobby like painting or drawing. Start a journal, it is a great way to unwind and organize your thoughts.
Keeping fit and following a well- planned fitness regime takes dedication. Allowing your body to rest keeps a balance between the physical demands a strenuous workout program places on your muscles and needed rest periods.
As I get older I am more aware of the importance of rest. I find that I need two and even three days between strenuous workouts. Listen to your body! The old saying about no pain no gain is outdated and an invitation for injury which would sideline your fitness program. So enjoy your day of rest. Follow these suggestions and you’re be ready to hit the gym refreshed and invigorated tomorrow.