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You have most probably heard, been told or read somewhere that, “You should have at least one rest day per week when it comes to exercising”, but why is this the case?

With so much information out there it can be hard to know what is right and what isn’t, but also knowing what is right for your body and your training routine.

Many fitness junkies would look at taking a “rest day” as though it was cheating on their goals, because it’s going to slow them down from reaching where they want to be.

However, it usually takes around 2 weeks of non-activity for the body to show any significant changes to your physical performance or your body composition, so taking a day or two off from it all is not going to be a set back for you like you may think.

When you are training and not taking any rest days from intense exercising you are not giving your body any time to repair (this is also known as over training). Over training is when there is too much stress on the body and their isn’t adequate time for your joints, muscles, tendons and your mental state to recover.

Your immune system is constantly repairing your muscles and joints and if you are constantly exercising then there is no time for your immune system to catch up and ultimately this can lead to injuries and that is something that will set you back from achieving your health and fitness goals.

When you exercise certain muscle groups, you want to give your body at least one days rest in between, if not 48hrs before working that same muscle group again. Even the elite Olympic athletes have rest days in their training programs, it is essential in any successful health and fitness routine.

Depending on your style of exercise, i.e. if you do resistant (weight) training 5-6 days a week, you may just want to do a low intensity cardio walk or a stretching session on your rest day. You may be a long distant runner and do this 4 times a week and your rest day maybe some flexibility work or even a massage.

Rest days are going to differ for each individual, with the training methods you choose to do on your workout days. Just be mindful that your rest days are suited to you and your routine.

Your body needs the time to rest and repair and this is actually when you see the big changes in your body and see all the hard work you have been doing really come to life.

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