Working out can be addictive for some people or training is simply ingrained in their lifestyle. Working up a sweat has that feel-good factor. It can even be meditative and a stress-reducing activity. But your body does need rest days for it to repair and to come back stronger. What does that mean, though? How much rest should you be getting and what kind?
Rest does not necessarily mean staying completely inactive. This wholly depends on the intensity of your usual workouts. How many times a week do you work out? How many hours do you spend at the gym in a day? If you’re just a beginner, you can rest every third day. While for regular exercisers, taking a once-per- week rest day is recommended. On your rest days, beginners can do light exercises, such as yoga or a light activity. For the more active, your rest days can include a low-intensity activity or some simple stretching. Just make sure you’re giving yourself a break from intense activity.
Here’s how you can make the most of your rest days without resorting to planting yourself firmly on the couch the whole day.
Tai chi is just as relaxing as it seems. The slow, graceful movements will put you in a meditative state while still working on your strength, balance and body awareness. Tai chi has even been proven to have pain-relieving benefits, making it the perfect low-impact workout for your weary body.
If you decide to make yoga your rest day activity, be sure to choose a relaxing yoga class that doesn’t involve complex, physically demanding postures. Yin yoga is a good example of a soothing type of yoga class. Yin yoga involves extended periods of holding poses, allowing for the release of any tight muscles. This type of yoga is more about recovery than getting fired up.
Swimming, in general, is just a fun way to decompress. While suspended in water, our bodies can feel weightless and this allows our joints to relax. Whether you simply want to float around or do a few laps, your body can experience benefits like improved circulation in the muscles, blood vessels and heart due to the water pressure.
An early morning or post-dinner evening walk can truly be pleasant on your days off. As long as you keep to a moderate pace, walking can be a great bit of cardio exercise. This also builds your endurance. 30 to 40 minutes of walking is recommended.
Similar to walking, a relaxed ride on a bicycle, whether stationary or moving, can be beneficial. As long as you cycle at a low intensity, you can get a good bit of cardio workout without impacting your joints.
A good soak
What’s better than a long soak in the tub for all those aching joints and muscles? Maybe add Epsom salts. The combination of magnesium and sulfur will leave your sore muscles feeling calm. Even better, Epsom salts have been found to help reduce bloating, and magnesium has been proven to lower cortisol.
A soothing massage
A disciplined exerciser like you deserves some physical therapy in the form an indulgent massage. Your muscles will be all sorted out, going right into full healing mode. Depending on your schedule and budget, you should take a regular massage. Be sure to tell your therapist you want benefits like release and relaxation.