Work it – The importance of letting your body rest.

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Work It

First if all — welcome new readers! If you are new to the blog, it makes a lot more sense if you start at the beginning and read a bit about me.

While I would normally feature workout routines and suggestions, today I wanted to stress the importance of REST. Yes, that time when your body does NOTHING.

The Mister and I actually chose today to be our day of rest this week. We normally choose a Wednesday or Thursday because, let’s face it, by mid-week you need a little R&R with all the other junk you’ve got goin’ on! I love sleeping in until 7:00 and I always feel perfectly rested for the next day. I often meet my mom to go walking so that I get my body moving, while still giving my muscles a much-needed break.

Explained in an article on Revolution Health, “exercise causes microtrauma to muscles, which get stronger when they repair themselves during rest. The same applies to your general physiology, which must ‘ramp up to meet the demands of exercise,’ says Conrad Earnest, Ph.D., chief exercise physiologist at The Cooper Institute in Dallas. He and others recommend one full day off per week.

See, without proper recovery time, areas of wear and tear become weak links, are more prone to injury and less likely to show strength gains. So, while you might burn a few extra calories by not taking a day off, your body will be less efficient in capitalizing on the work you do.

Now listen up, because this is important: “DO NOT wait until you feel pain or weakness to rest,” explained William Roberts, an associate professor in the Division of Sports Medicine at the University of Minnesota. But do rest MORE if you have symptoms. “Skipping rest days, he asserts, is the most common cause of overtraining injuries. Even if you don’t feel the sluggishness, the off day should affect you like a long weekend break from a high-pressure job. You’ll return to the gym, pool, track or trail notably more refreshed than when you left.”

Even though your day off should be a “rest day” it doesn’t mean that you have to be a couch potato! For someone who jogs regularly, it could mean a light swim or a casual bike ride. For a devoted weight lifter, it could be a noncompetitive tennis or basketball game. Or if you are like the Mister and I, it does indeed mean that you are a couch potato for a day :)

For those of you who are really hard-core (you know, with all your fancy races and whatnot), “giving your body a break is important, especially if you are training for a long-distance event,” explained an article in the DC Examiner. “Your body works hard during your days of exercise, and, just like a car, it needs to refuel before/if it runs out of gas. Constantly charging a battery that is nearly dead won’t allow the charge to strengthen over time; ergo, a rested body will perform better than a tired body.”

Now if only I had a hammock... (image credit: bambooandtikis.com)

Now if only I had a hammock... (image credit: bambooandtikis.com)

Do any of you struggle with taking a day of rest? Do you feel like you are missing out or being lazy? CUT IT OUT! Sleep in, watch some TV or sip some lemonade on your porch. Take a deep breath and enjoy it — you deserve it ;) Plus, neck and leg braces are really don’t do much for ya…they only come in so many colors, you know.

How many of you, like me, EMBRACE your day of rest?

I’ve received a few emails in regards to my guest post requests — I’ll respond to each of you! In the meantime (to everyone else), let me know if you’d like to submit a guest post! I need the following:

Featured Eats (need 6 total)

Suggested Workout

Product Review

Reflection on what you are thankful for in your life

Fashion tips (what’s your signature style and MUST-HAVES?

Email me at info@thedailybalance.com if you are interested.

12 Responses to “Work it – The importance of letting your body rest.”

  1. Maria says:

    Great post, now I just need to do it, ha! I have a hard time taking days off. We are on vacation this week and I still have been hitting the fitness center. I did hurt my hip running so I am only doing elliptical, abs, weights. Maybe I will take tomorrow off:) Thanks!

  2. michelle says:

    Excellent post. I do indeed have a hard time taking a day “off”. Great suggestions.

  3. Tanya says:

    My problem is that if I rest for 2 days straight, my motivation to get back into it is so diminished. So, I separate my rest days instead of having them consecutive.

  4. Alison says:

    I use to have a hard time with taking rest days when I losing weight last year. I would feel like I was going to gain it all back if I took even one day off! I certainly know better now, rest IS important! I always take one and sometimes even two rest days a week. You’re exactly right though, it is tough to find *balance* sometimes once you get into the exercise habit.

  5. I’m with Tanya… I can take ONE rest day, but if I go 2 consecutive, the last thing I want to do is work out again!! Did you see your post?!

  6. K says:

    Rest days are so important! I always get worried that people might be working themselves to hard but as long as their listening to their body, that’s most important! One of my friends when I was still training got a stress fracture in her foot and had it there for MONTHS because she couldn’t take time off :(

  7. Sagan says:

    Rest days can be tough. Sometimes I feel guilty, but I know that when I push myself too hard it’s just frustrating because then I’m too sore for a long time to be able to workout as hard as I could have if I’d just taken the rest. Resting is JUST as important as exercising, though!

  8. Michelle says:

    Nice post Shannon! Today is my rest day this week as well, as I was out quite late last night and KNEW that my body needed the rest more than it needed only 5 hours of sleep so I could squeeze in a workout before work. It’s an internal debate sometimes, that’s for sure. I mean we all get it drilled into our minds that we have to be active ALL the time, when sometimes it’s just best to let our body do it’s thang, and REST and REPAIR itself! Great post!! :)

  9. kilax says:

    I do struggle with taking a rest day, so I try to plan non exercise things to do that will keep me busy.

  10. When I really into working out and feeling all “hardcore” I hate giving myself a rest day because it feels lazy. I do it anyway though…because I’m smart like that :P

    Great post!

  11. Yup, rest days are very important. I have a weak ankle which required surgery and which I have re-injured many times over the years. If I don’t take a rest day (as well as several low impact days) per week, my ankle gets VERY angry with me! I do struggle with doing nothing; however, the toddler makes sure that never happens… :)

  12. [...] often do you make excuses for not going to the gym? Sure we all need the occasional off-day, but [...]

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