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Why is a rest day important?

Our exercise routines have changed quite a lot in the last few years! Some of you are back to classes, some are enjoying online… and some are doing both! Others have picked up running or are continuing the “daily lockdown walk”!

If you’re doing more exercise than ever now is it time to reassess your routine and structure your exercise to get the most out of it and stay injury-free? Programming rest days into your routine will make your workouts even more effective. Here are the benefits of rest days:

1. Rest = Recovery

Each time you exercise, your muscles get tiny tears that need rest time to heal and grow, this is how your muscles grow stronger through exercise. The energy stored within your muscles also needs to be replenished after each workout. Exercise depletes your energy stores and if they don’t get a chance to be replaced you can feel muscle fatigue and soreness.

2. Stay injury-free

When your body is over-worked, it is harder to hold your form and concentrate on exercising correctly. Your muscles might suffer from repetitive strain injuries if you don’t take the right rest between workouts. It’s also vital to stay as hydrated on rest days as it is when you exercise. Water prevents muscle cramps and delivers nutrients around your body.

3. Get better sleep

Regular exercise is great for improving sleep but if you over-do it, the adrenaline and cortisol hormones produced can inhibit a good night’s sleep. Rest days help your hormone levels return to normal and prepare your body for the next fitness session.

What is a rest day?

Rest days are just as important for those new to exercise as to seasoned athletes. Contrary to popular belief, sitting on the sofa all day isn’t actually a good form of rest (sorry!) A good rest day is different for each of us, depending on the type of exercise we’re doing, for instance, if you’re mostly doing moderate to vigorous cardio, like our Dance HIIT or Abs Blitz workouts, you should include a rest day every three to five days.

Ideally, the perfect rest day to mingle in with your exercise days is an ‘active rest day’. Take a light walk or a Pilates or stretch class to help your body recover and be in the best place for the next time you ask more of it!

At Gemma Pearce Fitness, we have plenty of more gentle exercise classes that you can take on your active rest days. Find out more and sign up to one of our online membership plans or our face-to-face classes

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