By: Garner Pilat: MYX Coach
With more time at home, many people are leaning into all of the virtual workout options that are currently available. While I encourage moving your body most days of the week (especially during this time), I also think it is important to have at least one rest day a week. Exercise is ultimately stressing your body, and if you’re stressing your body too much or too often it can lead to fatigue, decreased performance, and even injury.
However, a rest day does not mean you should sit on the couch all day! You could go for a walk, use a foam roller, or do a light stretch. MYX offers plenty of workouts that will help you to rest and recover.
So, why are rest days so important? For starters, your muscle tissue needs time to repair itself in between tough workout days. A day of rest will allow time for your fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) to help regenerate skeletal muscle. The more intense your workouts, the more rest days or light activity days you may need.
Secondly, rest days are key for replacing glycogen in the body. Glycogen is stored glucose in the liver and muscle tissue, which is used to fuel your workouts. When you exercise, you deplete your glycogen levels, so if it is not replaced on rest days, you may experience increased muscle fatigue and soreness. It is also important to prioritize a balanced diet rich in healthy carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains), along with good fats and rich proteins, as this will also help with glycogen production.
Here are a few tips to help make your rest day a success:
Give your mind a break.
Exercise is not only physically challenging but also mentally taxing. Taking a break from your common training environment can give you a psychological break from exercise and even help your mind relax and recover, just like your muscles.
Use this time to enjoy another hobby.
You could use your scheduled “workout time” on your rest day to indulge in another pastime, such as reading a book, writing, working on a puzzle, or cooking; the options are endless!
Use this time to do something else that brings you joy.
When you need a break from breaking a sweat, you could find something else that makes you feel good. Call a family member or an old friend you haven’t chatted with in a while. Or spend quality time with someone under the same roof. We need each other now more than ever!
I hope after reading this article, you make the time to take care of your body and yourself. The next time there’s any inkling of you “feeling bad” for taking a day off, think of it as a necessary recharge for your body and mind to recover and come back even stronger!