March 1st, 2022
The success of an exercise program doesn’t come solely from performing the exercises themselves. It also entails taking adequate rest and recovery days so that your body isn’t overloaded with stress and has time to repair and recoup.
The Benefits of a Regular Rest Day
Recovery happens when we rest. In fact, this is an essential part of the success formula we use at Nielsen Fitness. If you want to achieve results, you need to include rest in your exercise program. Here’s a summary of why:
1. So Your Body Can Recover and Build Muscle
When you exercise, you create microscopic tears in the muscle. This is good stress that your body responds to by laying down new muscle tissue. In turn, you get stronger and build lean muscle mass.
However, your body needs time to do this. If you go full-throttle and don’t allow time between workouts for your body to lay down that new muscle tissue, you simply won’t see the results you want. More than likely, you’ll end up plateauing and seriously fatigued.
2. To Prevent Injury
Skipping rest can lead to overuse strains, partial micro tears, and other injuries. This can quickly overload your central nervous system, flooding your body with cortisol.
Cortisol is catabolic, meaning it breaks down lean muscle tissue. It further promotes fat storage, which often is the opposite of what you want. Additionally, research has demonstrated how chronic stress is associated with various life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, mental health disorders, and more.
3. To Refill Your Energy ‘Tank’
Working out depletes glycogen (carbohydrates/glucose) that is stored in the muscle tissue. Rest, on the other hand, allows time for your body to replenish these glycogen stores so that you can perform at your best during your next exercise session.
Ultimately, running on empty won’t help you build the body you want. You need adequate energy to reach your goals, which is also why a customized exercise plan should go hand-in-hand with a customized nutrition plan.
4. Better Sleep – and Results
As mentioned above, not taking rest days can lead to increased cortisol in the body. Cortisol can significantly impact your sleep, leading to restless nights and trouble falling asleep.
Research has further shown how quality sleep helps increase muscle mass. Meanwhile, poor sleep leads to decreased muscle strength and reduced muscle mass. In other words, not taking rest days can lead to a negative feedback loop where you continually don’t see the results you want and don’t obtain adequate sleep at night.
So, Go Ahead… Take That Rest Day!
When it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals, it’s critical to follow a “smarter not harder” plan. This includes rest days, allowing for adequate time for your body to recover. At Nielsen Fitness, we can help you do just that. Whether you desire a virtual personal trainer or a personal trainer in Toronto, we are here to help support you and your goals. Contact us today to get started.