There is a common misconception that if you want to get faster and better results, you have to train every day. Contrary to belief, however, this can actually lead to you hindering your progress as opposed to helping it, which leads to the question, why is rest and recovery important?

So, Why is Rest and Recovery Important?

Rest is important to include in your training regime because it assists in you recovering physiologically and psychologically. It is an often overlooked by runners and athletes, which can be very dangerous.

Taking time out to rest and recover is crucial because this is when the effects of your training actually take place. When you are working out at the gym or running, you don’t actually make those physical signs of improvement until you stop.

Our bodies adapt to stress. Hence, it requires additional stress to make progress, though there is a limit to how much stress your body can take in one go. When you run or train, your muscle tissues are damaged. This answers your question of, “why is rest and recovery important?”. It lifts the load off your body so that it can replenish and repair everything that it had lost during the session. This includes muscle tissues, energy stores (muscle glycogen) and fluids.

Not only is it important to you physically but it also gives you the opportunity to recharge mentally. By resting, you are giving yourself time and space to switch off and focus on other tasks in your life. This will prevent mental exhaustion.

Just remember, your physiological make isn’t the only thing that can tire out. Your mind needs a break too.

Benefits of Rest Days

Consistent Training

When you include rest days into your running and training routine, you will actually have more of a consistent workout schedule.

This is because you will more likely skip fewer workouts because you won’t be as tired or sore for your next session. It will also keep you from overtraining, meaning that you will look forward to training as opposed from being too drained and exhausted.

Better Workouts

You will be able to progress faster because you will have more energy to really amp up your workouts and give your all in training. When you are tired, you won’t be able to train as well which means that the quality of your workouts will decrease.

Minimizes Risk of Injury

Here is another big important answer to the question, why is rest and recovery important? By including rest days in your routine, you are minimizing the risk of injury. Your body will have had the adequate time it needs to fully recover in time for your next session.

Signs That You Are Not Resting Enough

Here are some signs that you need more rest days:

– Your performance drops – You can’t run the same distance/pace, or lift the same weights that you normally can comfortably do
– Your motivation for training decreases
– You always feel excessively tired or fatigued, even after sleeping
– Your muscles are extra sore and tight

How to Improve Rest and Recovery

Eat Well

Have a well-balanced, nutritious diet. The food you consume contributes to your body and how well it can repair your body after training.

Eating better meals also means that you will have more energy to use while training.

Stay Hydrated

We all know the importance of water and staying hydrated. Even when you are not training, it is important to drink enough water. It helps with all our bodily functions.

It is best to stick to pure water but if you need a kick, add fruit or lemon for some extra flavour. Also, herbal tea is a great alternative as well.

The amount of water you have depends on the person so it is hard to say exactly how many cups or glasses you need. The best way to determine whether or not you are adequately hydrated is the color of your urine. If it is paler then you are drinking enough water but if it is darker in color then you will need to amp up your water intake.

Stretch/Use the Foam Roller

You can also dedicate rest days to foam rolling, stretching or doing yoga or pilates to help with the muscles.

These types of rest days are called active rest days. You are still moving but at a lighter intensity than your normal days. It also aids in recovery as it helps loosen the muscles and releases any tension or knots.

So, why is rest and recovery important? Well, now you know. Make sure you schedule in a rest day in your training routine from now on if you haven’t already been doing so. It can really make a big difference in your training, performance and mental health.

Looking for a running plan that can help improve your running? Zen Labs Fitness offers a range of running apps that help complete newbies to experienced runners. Armed with an audio coach, proven walk-run program and a supportive, tight-knit community, you have all the ingredients to help get you off that couch and into your running shoes for a great workout, whether it is in the morning or evening.

How many rest days do you take? What difference have you found it has made to your physical and mental state? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to know!