Rest to rise above
Sometimes it’s necessary to take a few days, a week, or longer off from your workout routine. Things happen, like a vacation where you can’t get your normal workout routine done. Or perhaps an injury that forces you to take it easy. But sometimes you’re just tired, sore, or unmotivated and therefore a break is needed. To avoid over-training, many athletes regularly schedule a week off every 8-12 weeks. And while you may think this would set you back, it could actually help you in the long run. Before you skip those rest days, consider these benefits.
Rest day benefits
- Recover those sore muscles
- Decrease fatigue
- Avoid over-training
- Reset your mindset
Rest days don’t mean stop moving
Just because you’re taking some days off your training doesn’t mean you just sit on the couch. Try to change it up with some of these activities:
- Take a long walk
- Try a yoga or pilates class
- A long, easy bike ride
- Tossing a football or frisbee
- Leisurely working in the yard
Don’t worry about losing your gains
Here are some facts about how a break can affect your fitness:
- Aerobic power can decline about 5-10% in three weeks.
- It takes about 2 months of inactivity to completely lose the gains you’ve made.
- Extremely fit exercisers will experience a rapid drop in fitness during the first three weeks of inactivity before it tapers off.
- Muscular strength and endurance last longer than aerobic fitness. Muscles retain a memory of exercises for weeks or even months.
Do you ever take a few days off?
Whenever I take a week off, I find myself gaining extra super-powers once I start my exercise routine again. My problem is I rarely take that much time off. I decided to force myself to take this past week off, and I’m looking forward to hitting it hard next week to make up for it.