We all know how important it is to exercise regularly to stay fit and healthy. Many of you have a certain fitness goal in mind that you are working towards. To stay fit, going to a gym or a fitness center, following a strict workout routine, and following a proper diet is very important. However, there is one more thing just as important as all of these are, and that is proper rest.
Those of you who are very thorough for your workout often disregard the significance of rest day. Others consider the rest day as the time to sit on a couch and do nothing. While there is nothing wrong with the latter, it is always better to have an active rest day so that your body keeps burning calories even when you are resting.
It is notable here that when you do exercises such as weight training regularly at the gym, your body builds muscle tissues. These muscles constantly need calories to carry out the process of repairing any wear and tear. Normally your body uses up calories to carry out natural processes like breathing but, when your muscles repair themselves, they burn the fat and uses up more calories. So, you are burning calories even when at rest.
Before that, you must see why rest days are important for your physical as well as mental fitness. This is especially necessary for those who take physical fitness very seriously. Taking rest once in a while helps you just as much as exercising does.
Importance of rest days
As mentioned earlier, like regular exercise, proper rest is also good for your body. There are several benefits rest at regular intervals can give you. We used this blog to list out some of them below.
Helps in avoiding burnout
Excessive exercising can make your body to experience burnout. Falling sick because you exercised too much may later become a reason to quit exercising altogether. Having a rest day allows your body to recover from the soreness, fatigue, and pain caused by regular exercise.
Supports muscle recovery
The muscle tissues in your body undergo minor wear and tear during exercise. A good rest day allows your body muscles to relax and repair themselves.
Reduces the chances of over-training
Exercising daily promotes hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that boosts your energy levels to keep up with the workout. However, these hormones can cause a chemical imbalance in your body. A day’s rest stabilizes your body by balancing the hormone levels and promotes better sleep.
Makes your gym performance better
When you work out constantly, your body can get sore and tired. This can affect your performance greatly. When you are tired, you may often slack off while working out. An appropriate amount of rest can make you feel refreshed so that you can work out with renewed rigor.
Avoids potential injuries
If you are tired while working out, the fatigue can affect your postures. Wrong postures are one of the top reasons for gym injuries. A rest day can get rid of all the tiredness and make you feel more recharged so that you won’t lose your posture and avoid any potential injury.
Now that you know what all benefits a good rest can provide, you must make sure that you take the right amount of rest between the exercise days. But resting does not have to be about spending the day on the couch or bed. There are many ways to have a productive rest day where you can let your body rest but also fulfill your heart’s desire to stay active.
How to make rest days productive?
Rest days are important; you would not want to go too strong while staying active on the rest day. The whole point of the rest day is to relax and repair your body to make it function better. Therefore, there are two things that you can do to stay active and burn calories even on your rest day.
1. Try low impact workouts
Low impact exercises like walking, swimming, riding a bicycle, or simply cleaning up the house can help you stay active while also giving your muscles the much-needed rest.
These activities not only keep your body active but also help you to relax your mind. You know that staying healthy mentally is just as necessary as keeping your body fit. So, you can also choose to do some light yoga or meditation that keeps you mentally healthy. Going out for a hike or joining a dance class will also be very helpful in staying active on rest day while making you feel refreshed.
If you cannot go out for a hike, you can try doing some easygoing stretches to keep your body moving a little bit. To list them out, here are the things you can try to keep yourself active on your rest day.
- Light yoga and meditation
- Hiking in nature
- Easy stretches
With these low impact exercises, your body still burns some amount of calories while not disturbing the muscle rest. There is one more thing that you can do to protect your fitness on a rest day.
2. Maintain your diet
We all agree that we burn lesser calories on our rest day as compared to when we do regular exercise. Subsequently, your diet should also fit your rest day. What you can do is put a small cut on your carbohydrate intake while maintaining your proteins.
This can help you to maintain your current fitness levels even during a rest day. You must understand that a rest day does not mean a cheat day for diet. So, you cannot go around eating junk food on your rest day. If anything, you should control your diet more strictly on the rest day.
Giving yourself some time to rest is equally important as doing the right kind of workout. However, you can always choose how you want to spend your rest day. It could be about spending the day inactively, or it can be spent making sure that your body is still staying fit and burning calories.
Doing light exercises like walking and swimming is a great way to ensure that your body relaxes while you still stay active. Recreational activities, such as dancing and hiking, can make you physically active and mentally relaxed.
Apart from that, the other way to control your calories is by maintaining and altering your diet to fit the rest day. As compared to regular gym exercising day, you need to consume slightly lower amounts of carbs to maintain your fitness levels even when you are resting.
However, we would like to say again that the best way to burn calories is by going to a good gym and following a proper exercise routine (along with periodical rest days). So if you have not joined a gym yet or are working out at home, it is time to join a gym.
Before you decide, here is what you should look for in your ideal gym or fitness center.