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5 Reasons Why Rest Days Aren't Guilt Days!

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5 Reasons Why Rest Days Aren't Guilt Days!

No matter how much we hear that something that feels good is good for us, sometimes, it can be hard not to feel guilty. Factoring in rest days is a great example of us sitting there feeling guilty, when we should be celebrating the achievements we’ve already made that week, exercise-wise. 

Because let’s sing it loud and clear – rest days are important! They’re not cheating or a ‘get out clause’ from exercising. Planning in rest days is crucial to our success, here’s why…

  • Rest days actually help us to build muscle – when we exercise, we form tiny tears in our muscles. That’s why they hurt the next day. The body then sets about repairing these tiny tears by layering on muscle fibres to ‘stitch’ them back together. In doing so, our muscles build and become larger – which is exactly what we need from exercise. But the body can’t do this if the muscles are constantly working – hence the importance of rest days. So when you’re feeling guilty on your next rest day, remember the beneficial biological processes going on within your tired muscles.
  • Rest days help to prevent injury – tired muscles are more likely to become overstretched, leading to tears and pulls, which can scupper our chances of working out again soon – meaning potentially weeks of rest days, which is the last thing we want.
  • Rest days improve performance - feeling refreshed means that we’re more likely to exercise at our best potential, helping us to improve both physically and mentally.
  • Rest days improve our sleep – exercise places stress on the body. Some stress is good, such as the stress from exercise. But too much, and we’ll have an overproduction of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin – which interfere with sleep. If we’re having regular rest days, we’ll sleep better which in turn will help to improve our performance.
  • Rest days boost our morale – there’s nothing more morale damaging than not being able to push as hard when we’re exercising as we’d like. Rest days help us physically recover, meaning that we’ll be ready for a morale boosting tip top performance next time we exercise.

Another time we might feel guilty, is when we’re taking time out to recover from an injury. Injuries from exercise, from torn muscles to sore toe nails caused by running when we haven’t kept our toenails short, are fairly common. But struggling through them is a big no-no.

When we’re injured, our body needs to rest. That way, it’ll recover more quickly. It’s tempting to just carry on through any pain and discomfort, but doing so will only set you back further. Its best to wait until you’re free from pain, or when any doctor or physio has said it’s ok for you to exercise safely again.

It can be emotionally hard to make peace with resting when injured, but keep reminding yourself it’s for the best, and that you’ll be able to return sooner and stronger, if only you rest and recuperate. 

So, when’s your next guilt free rest day?!

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