I think everyone would agree that Sleep is important rest – but this time we are talking about resting from exercising and lifting weights. Now before we get too far down the rabbit hole of discussing the importance of rest, we need to talk about what happens to your muscles during workouts.
When you are lifting weights or even doing bouts of cardio and HIIT, your muscles are being damaged. I know some of us think – but we are getting stronger… but did you know you actually are allowing your body to get stronger when you rest? During exercise your muscles are being damaged and microscopic tears are ripping into your body’s musculature. When you rest you allow those tears to heal and the muscles become stronger than they were before.
Here is my problem with #NoRestDays… when you don’t allow your body adequate time to rest and heal and strengthen you open yourself up to a world of hurt – literally. Without healing time your body is susceptible to major injury. That is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are more complications than that.
You can become irritable and depressed. Speaking from my own experience – when I used to think that if I trained as hard as I possibly could 100% of the time that I would have results as fast as I could say the words “Lean and Mean” I was not a very nice person. I became obsessed with the scale and the mirror. I had to be in the best shape of all time at all times. Depression would set in when I did not see the results that I wanted in the time frame I expected to have them in.
Your body can go into adrenal fatigue and your body could start producing more cortisol (the fat storing hormone) which is the opposite of what the goal of getting in shape is. Who knew right? SCIENCE…
Lack of sleep – you work out all the time as hard as you can and you are exhausted… but you can’t get any sleep either? Its because your body does not know how to rest. Your mind is now always in a hazy fog, and you can’t seem to think straight – which then makes you start overthinking. And with the lack of sleep comes a compromised immune system. Notice you are getting sicker? When was the last time you allowed yourself to rest? Here is the thing… keep depleting your body of rest and recovery – and see if your body does not turn on you and give you one of the following:
- An injury – forcing you to take time to rest and heal.
- Sickness – forcing you to take time to rest and heal…
Are you noticing a theme yet?
So if the opposite of overtraining is resting – let’s all do ourselves a favor and allow our bodies the time that they need to rest and heal. Now if you are doing an active rest day such as doing some yoga, or going on a relaxed walk – there is nothing wrong with that, and that is great to keep your body moving a little bit… but overtraining is the problem. So here are the major benefits of rest and recovery (which you could just say the opposite of everything listed above):
- Increases serotonin (working out can create that as well – but it is depleted when we overtrain)
- Stabilizes your mood (We all need a little happiness in our lives)
- Reduces the production of cortisol. (No one wants that tire around their waist)
- Can increase your REM sleep. (The deep sleep, where you wake yourself up from snoring)
- Muscles repair and are stronger the next time you lift. (Doesn’t mean you MAX out at every workout)
- Can help you stay healthy and out of the doctor’s office. (Who has the time or money for that with rising health costs and co-pays)
- Prevents Injury (See above)
So REST ASSURED (see what I did there) – taking the time to properly recover when you are training and on your rest days can improve many parts of your life and prevent you from some financial burdens of being sick and injured. If you don’t listen to your body and rest – it will make you like the bully it is sometimes. So #TAKEARESTDAY