Are Rest Days Necessary?

Do you need to workout every day and should you have rest days when you sit and admire how much you did the rest of the week? The Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous workouts. It’s also recommended that the high end should be a maximum of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise with just 150 minutes of a high-intensity workout. How should you spread that out? Should you opt for either high-intensity or moderate-intensity or can you mix the two? Is a rest day recommended in the mix?

For strength training, take a 48-72 hour break between tough sessions on the same muscle group.

Your muscles need a recovery time after a tough workout. It’s the time for them to heal and get stronger. High intensity workouts require longer for recovery. The intensity of the workout is also important and so is the muscle group you’re working. You can do strength training, even high intensity strength training, four days a week, if you’re working different muscle groups. That means two days spaced 48 to 72 hours apart for one part of the body and two days spaced the same for another. It’s just one option, but also focuses on resting your muscles in-between sessions to repair the small tears in the muscle and replace the glycogen stores.

Vary your workout and include all types of exercise.

Strength training is important, but so is cardio, balance and flexibility training. Focusing on cardio and flexibility training on the days between strength training can help. You can also vary your intensity, taking it easier on a rest day is still a rest, but you’re still keeping active and that’s important. Make your cardio a brisk walk on that day or enjoy a ride in the park on a bike. Try stretches or easy yoga to fill in the gaps. Let your body have a complete rest from a tough workout at least once a week.

You’ll prevent injury by taking a day off once a week if you’re focusing on one type of workout.

You may be overusing muscles if you’re working out continually. When you take a rest day, you’ll avoid overuse injuries. No matter what your form of exercise, it can happen. Even walking every day with higher intensity can create problems, particularly for someone completely out of shape. Never do the same exercise seven days a week unless you want damage to muscles and joints.

Don’t worry about losing ground from taking a day away. Studies show that if you’re in good shape, it takes about two weeks before losing a noticeable amount of progress. If you’re a beginner, a day away can refresh your mind, without causing you to lose your progress.

Taking a rest day periodically can help improve your mental edge. Fatigue can be just as harmful to a workout as not doing it at all. Make sure you include a day off in your workout schedule.

Training every day can affect your immune system. It doesn’t allow your body to heal without proper rest. Not only will you face injuries, you’ll find yourself catching colds and other diseases.

While consistency is important, so is giving your body a rest. Exercise is important, but it shouldn’t be your whole life. Taking a rest day should include taking extra time with family and friends.

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