Taking that day off for rest will improve your performance as an athlete, Protima Tiwary explains why taking that day off will benefit your performance as an athlete.
Rest days are the days when your body is actually doing all the work. It’s replenishing energy stores, repairing muscle tissue and helping in muscle growth. If you’re not taking your days off seriously, there’s some serious un-learning that you’ve got to do!
Working out every day isn’t a great idea. It’s easy to get caught up in the “train like a beast” mindset and forget about taking days off for rest and recovery because we’ve been conditioned to think that it’s wrong, even weak. “Over-training is a myth” is what many will tell you, ignoring the harmful effects of training without rest. This mindset is causing more harm than good, something that you’ll realise only once stress and exhaustion get the better of you.
Not taking a day off is saying no to muscle recovery and growth. Decreased performance, stress-related injuries, fatigue, exhaustion, and even poor sleep, reproductive and digestion disorders, mood swings and decreased immunity are just some of the harmful effects of training without rest.
It might be tempting to continue training, but your body does need a break. Let’s look at the top 3 reasons why you deserve to take that day off:
To Reduce The Risk of Injury
Working out is causing microscopic tears in our muscles, and the body needs rest in order to heal these muscles tears. If you do not stop, overuse of muscles will lead to a bigger tear which can develop into full blown out injuries that can limit you or even prevent you from training in the future. You don’t want to end up with stress fractures and tendonitis, do you? If your muscles have been feeling sore, a day of rest can allow your circulatory system to perform its job of removing metabolic by-products in muscle cells.
To Build Muscle
As we mentioned earlier, working out causes microscopic tears that need to heal. Resting will aid healing, and help in muscle growth. Most of the muscle growth happens during sleep. The body increases blood supply to the muscles, and also releases the growth hormone from the pituitary gland. Inadequate sleep causes a decline in the release of the growth hormone. Rest allows time for the fibroblasts—individual cells that repair damaged tissues—to do their job and repair any tissues that may need it.
To Limit The Risk of Overtraining Syndrome
Overtraining syndrome (OTS) is a condition where the stress of training too hard has a negative impact on the bodies Central Nervous System. It leads to fatigue, exhaustion and even mood swings. The symptoms can last up to months.
Yes, your body needs time to repair and refuel, and it’s imperative that you space out your workouts. Combine harder workouts with lower-intensity workouts to strike a balance. During stressful times, reduce the high-intensity workouts and indulge in something that you enjoy (run/swim/walk/dance/yoga.)
Treat rest days as your time for regeneration. Eat clean, and in the right quantity. Drink enough water. Get massages. Most importantly, sleep well. It’s during the REM sleep that the body’s production of growth hormone increases, which aids in the repairing and rebuilding of muscles post-workout.