The age-old adage says there’s no rest for the weary, but if you want to make your exercise efforts count, downtime is a must.
Fitness experts have long advocated getting sufficient rest between workouts, and for good reason. Firstly, it gives your muscles time to heal from the tiny tears caused by physical activity like running and weightlifting. Doing this will also lead to improved long-term performance, says personal trainer Donna Samuel. “It’s during the recovery periods when the muscle fibre reconstructs and strengthens itself,” she adds.
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In other words, exercising while your muscles are still sore is detrimental to your overall fitness plan. The benefits are not just physical – taking breaks also prevents you from burning out. Just don’t use that as a convenient excuse to skip gym on the regular!
So how often should you rest? According to Donna, it can vary for different individuals, depending on their lifestyles. “In general, one to two recovery days per week should suffice for those exercising three times a week,” she suggests. “During this period, performing some stretching and self-myofascial release [techniques] can help to relieve tight muscles.
So there you have it, a good workout plan isn’t all weights and cardio – you need some scheduled R&R too.