Rest days are just as important as your active days! Without proper rest, your body can’t recharge and refuel for your workouts…and over time, this means your risk of injury increases, your results slow down, and your likelihood of burning out grows.
While everyone’s needs are unique, I typically recommend one day of total rest and one day of active recovery per week. (Always consult your physician and/or trainer to find a program that fits your needs.) Total rest is your slug-sloth-couch day; active recovery is time to take a neighborhood stroll, try an easy yoga class, or do other gentle movement to help soothe your muscles.
You work hard to make your workouts awesome, so why not make your rest days just as fab? Here are five ways to make your rest days even more effective:
- Sleep! Don’t be afraid to nap if your muscles feels sore…or if you just feel like you need a nap. It is called a rest day, after all. Even if you don’t sleep, you have official permission to spend a few extra hours immobile on the couch. Give your hormones a chance to rebalance and reset your hunger signals while your muscles rebuild themselves.
- Stretch. Rest days are great opportunities to try a gentle yoga or stretching class, but if classes aren’t your thing you can always find some free yoga guides online (there are too many out there and they come and go too fast for me to recommend a specific program, but feel free to email me if you have questions about where to find one!). If nothing else, put on your favorite song and commit to stretching your arms, legs, and core for at least 3-5 minutes.
- Walk. Today isn’t the day to strap on your weighted vest and power walk around the city – it’s time to take a slow stroll through your neighborhood and enjoy the fresh(-ish) air, maybe even in the company of your friends or family. If you are feeling particularly altruistic, you can always contact a local animal shelter or rescue organization and see if they have any dogs that could use walks.
- Plan and/or prep some meals. While you’re laying around on the couch, search out some new healthy recipes, make your grocery list, or devise your meal prep strategy for the week. If you’re ready to stand for a few minutes, take the time to chop some vegetables and cook some staples like rice, beans,or oatmeal so that you have your building blocks ready for your week’s meals.
- Re-motivate! Check in with your goals and your vision board to keep your spark alive while you’re resting…and to make sure that your rest day doesn’t turn into a rest month.
Enjoy your rest day! And while you’re resting, be sure to stay hydrated – your muscles will thank you!