Welcome To Friday. Let Us Rest.

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When you workout hard several days a week, it’s important to take a rest day to give your body and muscles a chance to recover. Challenging workouts stress our muscles and create small tears in the fibers. That’s why you walk funny and have trouble picking up a cup of coffee after a particularly hard workout. During rest periods like sleep, your muscles work to repair these tears and grow stronger and (ideally for some of us) bigger.

If you don’t get enough rest, your body can’t recover as efficiently and you risk overtraining, lowering your immune system, and injury. Sleep at night isn’t always enough rest since many of us don’t get the best quality sleep or even 8 hours on a nightly basis. This is when a rest day becomes even more important to your schedule. Taking a day off gives you that extra time to recover and prep for more workouts.

It helps you physically recover by letting your muscles have a day off from work, but it also helps you recover mentally. If you workout day after day without taking a break, eventually you’re going to burn out from exhaustion, boredom, or a combination of both. The number of rest days you take depends on your workout and fitness level. If you are new to working out or have a period of very hard workouts, you may need more than one day a week.

It’s important to learn to listen to your body and days off when you need them. What does a rest day look like? Does it look like this?

Thing Two Being Lazy

Or maybe more like this?

Lazy-Thing-Two

Or maybe like this?

triangle pose

If you’ve had back to back days of intense workouts and are sore day after day, you may want to take a day of complete rest like Thing Two is demonstrating for you. Otherwise you can still remain active on your day off, but not to the level of your workouts. Try something different for a change. Take a stroll with the dog or give a yoga class a try. Stretching does wonders for easing muscle soreness and keeps you flexible. It also can relax you and help you sleep better during the week.

Like I said, the key is to learn to listen to your body and rest when you need to. What do you do on your rest days?

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