Updated: Mar 22, 2022
“Stay active and get regular exercise.” It seems everywhere you turn, this piece of advice is thrown at us by people who know best – doctors, physical therapists, personal trainers, coaches, etc. But, just like everything else in life, there needs to be a balance to your workout routine. Whether you’re training for a competition or feeling extra motivated, more isn’t always better.
Rest days are just as important as exercise. In fact, a successful fitness regimen isn’t complete without rest days. Taking regular breaks allows your body to recover and repair. It’s an important part of progress, regardless of your fitness level or sport. Otherwise, skipping rest days can lead to overtraining or burnout.
If you’re guilty of this, don’t feel bad; it’s a common mistake made by many people new to exercising, and I’ve even seen experienced endurance athletes guilty of it as well. But as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I’m here to tell you that working too hard, or too often, will negatively impact your health, your fitness program, and even your sleep (It’s true!!! More on that below).
Not to get too philosophical on you folks, but Aristotle is famous for saying moderation is the way to attaining happiness. This can be applied to many aspects of life but is especially true in exercise. Let’s read on together to find out why.
REASONS FOR TAKING A BREAK
You might be thinking “So it’s the start of the year, which means the start of the new me”. You’re all excited to train for that half-marathon or hoping to lose X% of body fat by year end. And, as a result, you work out every day, thinking this is the best way to accomplish your goals, right? WRONG!!!! YOU NEED REST DAYS! Why? You’re about to find out.
Reduce The Chance of Injury
When you train daily without giving yourself downtime, you increase your risk for overuse injuries. While your intentions may be good, pushing your body too hard and too often without a break will most likely result in wear and tear as you’re not giving your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and joints the needed time to recover. I’ve seen clients develop stress fractures from overuse which required weeks of rest to p