Having an exercise program is important for maintaining your health. However, as counter intuitive as it may sound exercising too much may have a negative impact on your health. If you frequently exercise you should plan for some much needed rest days from the gym to allow your damaged muscles to heal and recover properly from workouts. Allowing your body to recover from workouts assists your muscles in repairing damage sustained from intensive exercise. It also allows your body to fully prepare for you next workout.
Strength and endurance gains occur during your “rest” days and not in the gym.
If you workout on a regular basis, take at least one day off per week from the gym. Your rest day is definitely well-deserved and your body will thank you for it.
You may be wondering how to spend these “rest” days. What exactly are we supposed to do on those days? The biggest problem with rest days is that they end up becoming cheat days. Most times we end up thinking of these days as well-deserved “do whatever I want and eat whatever I want” days. This is bad news. Remember that exercising is 10-20% of the equation and how we rest/eat is the other 80%. Ever heard somebody say, “abs are made in the kitchen”? There is definitely some truth to this saying.
So what can you do on a day “off” from training? Below are a few ideas. Whether it’s adding a morning mobility/stretching routine to your day, doing something everyday is a great way to remind ourselves of our main purpose “I am changing my life and I exercise daily.”
Work on Flexibility/Mobility
One of the best things to do to help relieve soreness and tightness in the muscles is to work on our flexibility and mobility. Regardless if you have training planned for the day starting your day off in the morning with a mobility warm up is great way to keep your hips loose and kick start your positive thinking for the day. If you work at a desk all day then incorporating some of these mobility warm ups throughout your day will keep you thinking positive and give your muscles some much needed tightness relief. Check out the video below for some ideas on certain hip mobility warm-ups.
Do Some Fun Activities
We are meant to move all the time we are not meant to sit. So on your rest days stay active while also having some goofy fun. A fun activity varies from person to person:
- Go on a bike ride with your kids
- Join a local community team (e.g. kickball, softball)
- Take a dance class. Melbourne is full of dance schools that offer “pay when you attend” classes that suit all different dance levels. Here’s a link to one of dance schools: The Space
- Go on a walk around the block and make a quick stop at the playground. Hop on the merry-go-round or the swings- it’s quite exhilarating.
The point is to get outside and do something active that gets your heart feeling warm and giving. Remember it’s a fantastic day to be alive and that our bodies are built to move.