20 Feb Benefits Of Taking A Rest Day: Read This
As much as it is important to put those miles in and feel your body working out non-stop, building up the endurance and speed that you are trying to achieve, it is also important to take a break, and rest your body. Yes, breaks are as important, and in fact, should be part of your training. The benefits of taking a rest day are as much as the training itself.
Our body is a functioning machine which also needs to recover. For a runner; muscle tissue, tendons, bones, and your mind, is all an integral system getting a level of physical demands that if not well recovered, will end up getting hurt. Recovery is essential in high performance athletes and should be part of any runner in their training plan. Why is recovery essential?
- Your muscles need to recover – By giving them a break you are allowing them to naturally bounce back from continuous demands and your muscle tissue will recover from those microscopic tears that form every time you run. Your muscles will respond better and stronger to work out when they are healthy. If workout is intense, a 24-hour period will not be sufficient time to recover, sometimes 36-48 hours is most recommended
- Your bones need a break too – This helps to avoid stress fractures. Although it is true that your bones get stronger through physical activity, taking exercises to the extreme can result in stress fractures
- Good on your tendons – Tendons are that part of our bodies to really keep an eye on. They don’t get so much blood flow as other parts (muscles for example), limiting their ability to self-heal and stay healthy. Inflammation will occur if too much stress is put on them. That time off will help those tendons too
- Your brain will thank you – Sometimes a complete disconnect for a day or two will reset your mind, and although it seems hard to do if you are training for a competition, your head also needs it. When you are training you are in ‘Cortisol’ mode, which can cause irritability and mood issues. Just chill out and reset. This is much needed for an athlete.
“Sometimes we think we will lose all the effort if we stop, but to the contrary, you are doing your body and mind a favor. You will bounce back stronger”
What are the signs to know you probably need a break?
Generally speaking, you need a day (maybe two) every week in order to let your body recover properly, and furthermore, if you are undergoing intense training. Rest should be part of your TRAINING PLAN.
In case you are not giving yourself a break, the following signs should not be overlooked:
- Muscle soreness – this is obvious. This means is time to stop. Muscles, tendons, bones, can all be impacted if too much stress from physical activity is not managed properly
- Energy down – this is sometimes overlooked by thinking you can push thru and defeat low days. Wait, this is also a sign that you are pushing thru too hard. Maybe is time to listen to your body and rest
- Poor sleep – You are not getting enough. This is critical as all the healing and cell regeneration in your body happens when you’re asleep. If you are not getting enough, you need a break, and get more sleep
- You are getting easily irritated – This means your mind is processing too much Cortisol. You need to quiet down. Let’s not get confused here; running is one of the most effective ways to release stress (thru dopamine), but when intensity of training is too high and mental stress (training for a competition for example) reaches a peak (too much Cortisol), resetting the mind is the best option
“When your body trains under the effects of poor rest, it will accelerate the risk of injuries”
“Embrace the days off as part of your training plan. Days off form part of your recovery and development”
“A rest day can give you extra days of running down the road”
Be smart and train smart. Your mind will always try to cheat the body. Don’t get fooled and listen to what the body is telling you.
A key and successful training routine should include learning how to read your body. Reaching the highest potential will only be achieved with a healthy body.