The Importance of Rest Days

Moving your body has so many benefits for the mind, body and soul that we sometimes just throw ourselves into it, and forget to consider what is really best for our bodies. Surely it’s all good, as long as we’re exercising?

While we always encourage regular exercise at our gyms, we also know the importance of rest days, and what that means for your body, as well as your mind. When it comes to fitness (and life in general) rest is very important. You may be surprised at how many benefits taking a day off actually has. In this post, 24/7 Fitness delves into the benefits of rest days, so that you can find out how your day off is helping your days on. 

Why are rest days important?

The importance of rest days when training cannot be understated. Taking a day off between hard workouts allows the body's muscles to repair and recover from any damage they've sustained during workouts, while also allowing them to grow.

Rest days allow your tissues to repair while building and adapting skeletal muscle, and restoring fuel reserves. They have also been shown to reduce mental stress, producing benefits across the board.

Benefits of rest days

Here are the main advantages of rest days:

  • Prevents muscle fatigue and burnout

  • Reduces risk of injury

  • Can improve performance on gym days

  • Helps you stay motivated for the gym

  • Improves your sleep

What to do on rest days

One of the best parts of taking a rest day is that it gives you a chance to focus your physical and mental energy on other important aspects of your life. You likely have many different things that you like to do on days off, but here we will look at what to do on rest days that are good for your body.

Here are the six best things to do on gym recovery days:

  1. Stretch or foam roll: While yoga is a great form of exercise, it can also be great for relaxation and stretching. However, simply stretching or using the foam roller to iron out your muscles will also be extremely beneficial.

  2. Go for a walk: Walking is a great way to stay active, stretch and move your body, while not straining any muscles. This is an excellent option for recovery days.

  3. Sleep: Of course, sleeping well is important every day, but getting a little extra sleep on a recovery day is extra useful.

  4. Get a massage: Not only is getting a massage a wonderful experience, but it will help your muscles repair while feeling amazing.

  5. Be productive: Okay, so not all of our tips are for your body. Being productive will help you feel like you’ve made the most of your day, even if you didn’t get a workout in. Also, having an extra few hours in the day to do your laundry, clean your kitchen or walk the dog can feel amazing and will ensure that you feel good about skipping the gym.

  6. Meal prep: While you have those few extra hours, why not use them to make nutritious, tasty meals for your upcoming week? Meal prepping is a great way to ensure that you eat well, but it can be hard to find the time to do it. Your rest day is the perfect opportunity to get prepping.

How many rest days should I have?

This is dependent on your individual body and the exercises that you do. Medically, it is recommended that you take a rest day at least once every 7-10 days. However, this is at the very end of the scale, and your body will likely need to rest more regularly. 

Learning to tell when your body needs to take a break is a very important part of your fitness journey. Tune into your body and check in with yourself to see if your muscles are straining a little too much, or if your level of muscle stiffness is making further exercise difficult or painful. Muscle fatigue is a dead giveaway that you need to take a break.