Exercising boosts your metabolism, and its effects last for a long time. Therefore, you can burn calories much more easily, even when you’re resting. Plus, muscles burn more energy than fat. So, the more muscles you build by working out, the more weight you can lose on rest days.
Taking rest days isn’t always about being lazy. It’s about listening to your body and giving it time to restore its energy and heal before heading back to the gym again. If you value your body, it’ll return the favor by losing weight even on rest days!
Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of resting on mental and physical life and how you can make your rest days count more effectively.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Rest Days?
Taking rest days has multiple benefits for your mind and body. Here’s why you should take rest days no matter how strong and experienced you are:
Allowing Your Body to Recover
Resting allows your body to recover in many ways. Firstly, you should know that exercising creates small tears in your muscle tissue, and that’s why you get sore after working out. When you rest, you give your muscles to repair the damage caused.
Secondly, when you exercise, your body and muscles use up their stored glycogen, a form of carbohydrates. Glycogen fuels your body and allows you to perform. Resting allows your body to regain the glycogen it needs for future workouts.
Moreover, rest days balance out the negative effects of constant exercising on your immune system, preventing you from getting sick when you’re overworking your body.
Lastly, resting will help you recover from more obvious injuries. A break or sprain might happen to anyone during workouts, and it’s vital to give your body time to heal before heading to the gym, or else you might cause permanent damage.
Preventing Muscle Fatigue
Muscle fatigue happens when the glycogen stores in your body deplete due to heavy workouts. You have to let the glycogen stores refill before you can work out again at the optimum performance or even do everyday tasks.
Despite what most people believe, our muscles don’t grow while we’re working out. Rather, they grow during the rest we take after training.
As mentioned, our muscles develop microscopic tears and injuries during exercising. If we give them enough time to repair themselves and recover, they’ll start growing in mass.
So, if you head to the gym every day and work the same muscles over and over, you’ll see less growth than someone who trains only a couple of times during the week.
Bodybuilders are in the gym every day, but they monitor their exercises cautiously to avoid overtraining. They have a chest day, a leg day, an arm day, and so forth. When they’re working a set of muscles today, the others are resting.
Proper rest can improve your performance. If you push yourself too hard, you’ll be too tired to do your routine the best way you can, let alone run an extra mile or do another set. You’ll feel weak, your endurance will reduce, and you’ll experience slow reaction time.
Plus, many people fail to keep up with their new habit of exercising, and they can’t get through the initial phase just because they burnt themselves out at the beginning. If you want to sustain your exercise routines and commit, you have to make it easier on yourself.
Taking rest days will prevent you from quitting altogether until exercise becomes an inseparable part of your life, while you continue with other aspects of it without much sacrifice.
Reducing the Risk of Injury
It must be evident that we can’t perform at our best when our bodies are tired. When your muscles have been through a load of repetitive stress, they won’t function well, and your form will be compromised. Therefore, the risk of you dropping a weight on yourself, taking a wrong step, or blowing out your back increases.
A rest day will go by fast, and you’ll be back at the gym in no time. But if you sustain an injury, it’ll set you back much further than that.
Getting Better Sleep
Sleep is vital for our overall health, especially for those who work out regularly, by allowing them to reach their peak performance and hit a new personal best. Also, exercising can help your sleeping habits; it’s a two-way street!
Exercising makes our bodies produce beneficial hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that boost our energies. However, if we overwork our bodies, it overproduces these hormones, resulting in a bad sleeping pattern.
If you don’t take proper rest, you’ll be even more exhausted. Taking a day off will allow your hormones to get back to a balanced state.
Resting the Mind
Believe it or not, overtraining can affect your mental state as well as your physical condition. It’s easy to drive yourself over the edge of mental fatigue by overdoing it in the gym or even in other parts of your life.
If you already have a busy life, trying to manage work, family, and friends, gym sessions can get overwhelming. You may want to talk yourself out of going or not put in your best effort while working out.
So, be sure to take more breaks and rest days if you feel like it’s too much to handle, and give your mind enough rest.
Why Do You Lose Weight on Rest Days?
As explained previously, resting allows your muscles to repair the damage exercising has caused to their tissues. Recovering and healing will allow them to grow in mass.
Moreover, it’s a fact that muscles burn more energy and calories than fat. So, the more muscles you have, the more calories you’ll burn while you’re resting.
Plus, exercising causes your body to operate at an increased metabolic rate, even days after a workout session. A boost in your metabolism will help you lose weight even on rest days.
How Many Rest Days Should You Take?
Your workouts and rest days should suit your personal needs. It depends on multiple factors, including the strength and endurance that you’ve gained, your weaknesses and injuries, how busy your life is, how much sleep you’re getting, and so forth.
If you’re only starting to exercise, your body may be ready for one day on and one day off. Once you get used to the intensity, you can go for two days on and one day off.
This article explains if it’s better to exercise every day or every other day.
Your main goal should be to split your workout plans into sections of two or three days and taking rest days in between. Some may settle for three days a week, and some may go for five without any issues. But you must know that exercising seven days a week isn’t healthy.
You need to listen to your body and learn when to stop. Here are the signs you should take seriously and take more rest days if you notice any:
- Extreme exhaustion or persistent soreness in your muscles.
- Pain in the muscles or joints indicating injury.
- Problems with sleep and insomnia.
- Feeling like you can’t get through your normal routine.
- Becoming highly irritable and experiencing mood swings.
- Noticing a decreased rate of muscle gain or fat loss.
What to Do on a Rest Day to Make It More Effective?
Rest days shouldn’t turn you into a couch potato! Resting isn’t necessarily about doing nothing. You can plan on low-impact exercises to have a more effective rest day while keeping your body relaxed.
Going for a walk or a swim, biking, dancing, or doing yoga can all loosen your muscles, improve your flexibility and strength, and refresh your body for the next workout day.
Rest days are as beneficial as exercising for our health, if not more! It can promote our mental and physical state, help us lose weight and even build more muscle mass. Learn to plan your rest days properly to get the most out of the hard work you’re putting into working out, and get help from a professional if needed.