When a person starts to train and gets visible results they often wonder if it is good to take a day off from exercising and if they should exercise every day or rest. It is a frequent doubt that combines fears both of losing physical shape and of feeling that something is not being done right. It also occurs frequently among those who started from a very poor state or sedentary lifestyle, because the fear arises that resting a day of exercise will curb inertia and lead to demotivation. If you are also wondering how many days you should rest after exercising, read on to resolve this question once and for all.
How many days should you rest after exercising and why
Exercise every day or rest
If the first question you ask yourself is whether to exercise every day or rest, the answer is clear and simple: you must rest. Rest is key for the body, to maintain good results and to avoid the risk of injury. Not resting is harmful to your goals. This is the reality. Therefore, resting one day between two of exercise, or resting two days after four or five of exercise is necessary.
Know why it is good to rest and what are the consequences of not doing it before asking how many days you should rest after exercising
- Danger of injury in the main form of muscle tears.
- Abandonment or demotivation due to fatigue or accumulated overexertion.
- Muscular fatigue.
- Brake on progression due to over effort.
- Poor replacement of glycogen stores.
- Drastic drop in performance in the medium term.
- Reduced production of red blood cells.
- Increases in heart rate and blood pressure.
In the specific case of strength training, it is good to rest a day from exercising for several additional reasons. It is during rest that the muscle “grows” and not during training time. In addition, the body needs time to recover energy reserves. So to the training time it is convenient to add a rest time.
If you train to lose weight you must also rest. If you don’t, your body can generate a very dangerous insulin resistance, which does not allow you to follow a good progression towards your weight loss goals.
How many days should I rest after exercising
It is common to look at elite athletes to firgure out how many days you should rest after exercising. But it is a big mistake. To begin with, because you are not an elite athlete, your preparation, objectives and demands are different. You don’t have to follow those training patterns because you don’t have to arrive in a certain form at a competition. Nor are you going to enjoy rest treatments that many elite athletes have at their disposal, such as muscle recovery massage, among others.
If you do fitness training, if you want muscle and tone, you should not train every day. The ideal is to do 4 weekly sessions with two days of active rest and rest one day of exercise.
If you do aerobic sports or your intention is to lose weight, it is also convenient to take an active rest day between two training days. And leave a day for total rest.
In a simple calendar you can train Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Leave active rest for Tuesday and Thursday and rest on Saturday. Although you can do other combinations.
What is active rest?
Active rest is not the same as taking a day off from exercise. These days you do exercise but never at high intensity. The body is still active but the demand is drastically lowered.
And what can you do these days?
- Walk. Going for walks or hiking is a good active rest activity.
- Running smoothly and reducing distances. Yes, you can also run these days if you regularly train for fitness or strength. Between exercising every day or resting, in those of active rest the pace should be much smoother and the distances clearly shorter.
- Flexibility exercises such as yoga or disciplines of physical and mental awareness such as tai chi are also appropriate for these days.
- Team sports. It is the ideal time to practice them. With moderation.
- Dance. Maybe you weren’t thinking about it but it is a good active exercise activity. It helps you burn calories and activates your blood circulation.
Tips for resting after each workout
But you shouldn’t just ask yourself how many days you should rest after exercising. It is also recommended that you consider how to rest after each training session to recover your body. And to avoid the consequences of not resting.
- Hydrate yourself. This provides fluid and electrolytes to your body right after training.
- Stretch the body. You will reduce muscle tension and help you recover from the effort made.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep each day.
- Follow a diet suitable for your nutritional needs. A good diet is key for a healthy and strong body, and for a good recovery of energy and vitality.
- Use relaxation and breathing techniques to reduce muscle tension accumulated during training.
- Don’t chain an intense session of cardio and strength training. Do it every other day or, at the most, with 12 hours between them.
Now you have clear answers that will help you design a suitable training and rest schedule for you. And if someone asks you if it is good to rest one day from exercising or how many days to rest after exercising, you can give them an argued answer.