Why It’s Ok To Take A Rest Day
Last week I came down with a horrendous stomach bug. I’m not talking about having a couple of bad cramps, I’m talking fever, cramps to end all other cramps and being unable to keep any food in for a week. No word of a lie, I ended up going to see the emergency doctor as I went to the toilet 14 times in an hour. That sort of thing should be in a world record book surely?!
I did 3,000 steps on my Fitbit one of the days and that was from walking up and down the stairs to go to the toilet. My heart rate for four days was constantly in the ‘Fat Burn’ zone, hitting the 130+ mark throughout the day and I hardly slept, going to bed at 3am and waking up at 7am.
As you can imagine, this illness prevented me from doing anything. I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t go outside (bar to the pharmacy and the Doctor) and I had no choice but to sit on the couch/ bed all day and accept defeat.
For me, on a personal level, this was hard. I go to the gym five times a week, I eat healthily and I don’t like to sit still for long. During this illness, I couldn’t do any exercise (nor did I want to), I was told to eat little, carby meals as often as possible (so much bread) and I was told to sit still and keep taking co-codamol to deal with the pain.
However, it turns out the break did me the world of good. I constantly hear at the gym and through research that rest days are just as important as working out. When my stomach started going back to normal, I kept away from the gym for an additional two days, to ensure that it had fully passed, and I went back to the gym with a vengeance. I was motivated to train, I worked harder because I felt rested and I wanted to push myself, which put me out of my comfort zone and ultimately made me feel really good.
There are so many benefits to resting, including:
Physically, it allows your body to fully recover from exercise. It’s not just muscle that is effected through exercise, it’s your bone, tendons, ligaments – everything. Take time out to let these heal themselves.
Mentally, it improves focus and mental fitness. If you’re constantly pushing yourself, it’s so easy to overdo it and ultimately, bugger your body and your mindset. Feeling overtired, sluggish and losing concentration because you’ve done multiple early morning sessions isn’t worth it. To push your body to the levels you want them to be you need to be mentally fit and focussed.
Sounds like a contradiction, but your energy levels actually go up. If you allow time for your body and mind to recover from training, your body will respond better to going again. I’m not talking about the energy spike that comes from an intake of sugar, more the healthy energy buzz you get after a decent workout.
Do you take regular rest days? What do you like to do on yours?
Thanks for reading,