Woman completing an online workout

Muscle Recovery: Why it’s So Important to Take a Rest Day

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. Sometimes… sore muscles just feel good.

Maybe, it’s the sense of accomplishment that comes with the feeling of your abs burning? Or, perhaps it’s the excitement of finally targeting the right muscles? Either way, no matter what pride comes with a sore muscle, we’re not here to dismiss that because you should feel accomplished after a good workout!

Issues can arise, however, if you don’t allow those sore muscles the chance to repair and rebuild properly with optimal rest and recovery days; these 48-72 rest hours are just as, if not more, important than the workouts themselves.

So, keep reading to learn the amazing benefits of a rest day and a few Fitness World tips you can use to implement both fun and effective recovery days into your schedule!

What is a Rest Day?

It might sound obvious, but a rest day is where you – you guessed it – rest.

For beginners to the world of fitness, this is not a day where you lie in bed and sulk about the progress you’re “not making.” Quite the opposite, actually.

Rest days are periodic breaks in between your workouts to allow for everything from muscle recovery to preventing a workout hangover. You can opt for an active rest day where you do light activities, or a traditional rest day where you let your body be a bit more passive than usual.

Both are extremely beneficial and the option you choose will depend on how your body feels, your experience level, and what fits better into your lifestyle.

Not sure which is right for you? Speak to a certified personal trainer who can help you develop a workout and rest day routine that is customized for your needs!

Benefits of a Rest Day

Now that you know what a rest day is, let’s take a look at a few benefits that come with prioritizing these post-workout rest days!

Encourages Muscle Recovery

During a workout, muscles are continually being damaged. Don’t fret – these are only microscopic tears that are then repaired by cells called fibroblasts during rest.

Without rest, however, muscles and joints will actually begin to weaken and can lead to exhaustion, swelling, or inflammation. So, to encourage muscle recovery and growth, it’s vital you allow time for that muscle to repair itself.  

Helps Support Optimal Sleep

With great rest days, come great sleep.

Physical activity is so beneficial for increasing energy-boosting hormones, however too much activity can actually lead to fatigue and disordered sleep patterns. Rest days, especially active ones, work to decrease cortisol and adrenaline and help the body return to a balanced state. 

Promotes Physical and Emotional Wellness

Over exercising can lead to severe exhaustion which affects both physical and mental health. Implementing rest and recovery days can, not only help your muscles recover, but your brain, as well.

Reduces Risk of Injury

The stress that exercise puts on your muscles, bones, and joints can, of course, be beneficial when properly taken care of. However, if your body doesn’t have the time it needs to prepare, over exercise can lead to injuries which can require short-term or long-term recovery periods – not to mention physical therapy, doctor’s appointments, and even work limitations.

FW! Rest and Recovery Day Tips

As we mentioned, not all rest days have to look like a 24-hour bed-ridden session while you binge watch Season 3 of Succession.

Active rest day activities can be incorporated into a healthy routine that will give your body the time it needs to repair while offering you the continual boost of endorphins from a good workout.

Here are five of Fitness World’s favourite ways to rest day!

Incorporate Yoga & Stretch

While picking a favourite workout for us is the same as picking a favourite child, we have do have an extreme love for a Yoga and Stretch class – especially on rest days!

This gentle exercise combination works both the mind and the body and can be done anywhere! 

Walk It Off

Walking is not only an amazing daily workout, but an excellent option for those looking for an active rest day activity.

Walking can be done anywhere and is easy on joints. Of course, you should always monitor how your body is feeling and speak to a healthcare professional about recommendations for your specific needs.

Play a Light Sport

A great option for a rest day is engaging in light sport activities! To prevent further injuries, we don’t recommend anything too strenuous, but going for a swim, playing golf, and taking a leisurely bike ride with friends are perfect, low-impact activities you can easily do.

Stay Hydrated!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

This is so important on rest days as your body is needs it to function at its best. Repairing muscles is no easy feat, so remember to carry around your favourite dotFIT water bottle during your rest days to, not only help build muscle, but help reduce fatigue and improve your mood!

FW Tip! Fitness World members get exclusive discounts through their online dotFIT account! Speak to a personal trainer today who can help set up your account!

Eat Your Protein

Even on rest days, it’s vital to fill your plate with lean protein as it’s filled with essential amino acids that work as the building blocks for muscle.

Opt for lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish or vegetarian options like beans, soy, and legumes that can help aid in muscle repair.

Stay Happy, Healthy, and Active at Fitness World

Fitness World is here to offer a community of members looking to accomplish the same goal: health! To continue or start on your fitness journey, join Fitness World today and watch as fitness becomes an enjoyable way to prevent stress, focus on self-care, and accomplish your goals!

Looking to add at-home workouts? With a Fitness World membership, you also have access to your favourite online classes right at your fingertips through our app!