I have already touched on the importance of exercising through my Cardio and Weights blog posts and now I want to talk about the other side to a training plan ... the rest. It's all very well and good training hard and making sure you hit those sessions but we shouldn't be go go go all of the time. Rest days and time off are needed for your body to look after itself properly. Rest days are not a sign of weakness or being less committed to your goal if anything they help you even more. I always recommend my clients take 1 if not 2 full rest days but I would also listen to your body when it comes to rest days because it is very good at telling us when we should rest. I personally have a mid week rest day and a weekend one as that fits in with my work and lifestyle however if I need more I take more and if I find that I just want to move on one of the days I do that as well.
In order to progress further we need to recover because if we don't our muscles, CNS (central nervous system) and immune system will not function at their highest capacity making it a higher risk for injury and illness. This can put your body into a state of stress messing with our hormonal balance which isn't beneficial to us in any way. This is why we rest ! Now it all depends on your training plan and sessions as to how long or how you rest but the main rule is to take away the stress from the body. So whether that is you being completely inactive or having more of an active recovery day - a nice walk, do some restorative yoga or stretching, a gentle swim it's what works for you.
Now a thing to take note of as well is having rests during your training sessions - I know a lot of people who don't like to rest in between sets and also the flip side of having too long a rest. It is all training plan and goal dependent but if you are lifting heavy you need to be resting in between sets so that your muscles don't tire out and cause injury. If you are going for a lighter load in the plan your rest time might be shorter. On the flip side don't turn a minute rest into 10 as you can again increase your risk of injury as your body cools down ... Something to be aware of next time you are training.
Rest days are also good for your mind and your general well being. You can use them to see friends, get your to do list done, practice self care and look after number one. You can still move on these days but I would recommend having at least one of these in your weekly routine, let yourself sleep in relax and chill out. It is ok to rest our bodies need it.
We don't let our phones run out of charge so why do we need to let ourselves ? Pushing yourself to the absolute limit and exhaustion is not worth it, we exercise to keep fit and healthy so don't let it become the thing that makes you ill.
Taking time out or having a rest day is not a negative thing, it doesn't make you any less fit or into exercise. If anything it makes you more aware of your body and what it needs. Meaning that in the long run you will be better off for it. Remember we can't run on full steam all the time there is going to be times when you need take a time out to be able to continue better than before. Both the body and the mind need a break from stress so make sure you look after number 1 and allow for that to happen :)