Exploring the “Rest Day” Concept


Rest and recovery days are just as necessary as workouts to build muscle and keep your body functioning optimally. Exercise of any kind damages muscle fibers and those fibers need time to heal and repair. The soreness and ache that you feel the day after a good workout? Yes, that’s the damage your body is working to repair.

Rest Days Do Not Need to Be Lazy Days

Many people have an erroneous idea of what a rest day is, which leads to the demonization of rest days. Rest days do not have to be days in which no muscle is moved even a quarter of an inch. Rest days can be filled with light activities such as yoga, Pilates, and walking. In fact, there has been some evidence that shows that light activities help to speed recovery, rather than put a damper on it.

Alternate Workouts If Rest Days Aren’t for You

It is not entirely necessary to take a full rest day, either. If you spend one day working your arms and do no legs at all, you can rest your arms the next day and do nothing but legs. You can then spend the next day working your core and back, going right back to arms the following day. By alternating body parts, you make everyday a rest day for one part and an active day for a different body part.

How Much Rest Time is Needed?

Different sources say many different things about how much rest time is needed to recover after a workout. Some say 48 hours is necessary, while others say that no less than 72 hours is sufficient. Still others say that as long as eight hours of sleep is attained, a full day is not really needed for recovery. In reality, every person is different and may need a slightly different amount of rest depending on how often they exercise and how healthy they are. When you feel your best, you know you have found what’s right for you.

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