Why it’s a good idea to miss the gym today

This is coming from a personal trainer – so you should probably listen up. 

Photo: iStock

Finding it hard to spring out of bed in the morning to make it to your fitness session? If your muscles aren’t repairing, you might feel like you’ve hit a wall, unable to perform at your best. One of the most important but often neglected part of a work out is recovery. IsoWhey Personal Trainer Nardia Norman breaks down why recovery – and time off from the gym – is just as crucial as time spent inside. This is why.

1.Rest days helps you to avoid over training

Believe it or not, more exercise is not necessarily better. In many cases, people who spend hours at the gym daily will not be getting the results they want because they have over trained their bodies. The body has a finite amount of energy to dedicate to exercise, so if too much is occurring, too many days in a row, the body can start to break down. The muscles become more prone to injury and the immune system is compromised.

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2. Recovery days are crucial for allowing your muscles and tissues to repair and become stronger

If you’re exercising regularly – especially if you’re doing resistance training – micro tears occur in the muscles. When you rest, these micro tears repair, the muscle then adapts and, as a result, becomes stronger.

3. Rest days give your nervous system a break

We often focus on the effects of exercise on the muscular-skeletal system, but it’s important to consider what’s happening in the nervous system, too. The nervous system involves the brain telling the rest to the body what to do, and without sufficient rest, the nervous system has the potential to become exhausted. This leads to feeling fatigued, weak, a foggy brain and lack of power.

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4. Recovery days allow you to focus on other forms of movement

If you are following a properly designed, well-balanced program rest days will be scheduled into the plan. Sometimes these days may be active recovery, and other days may be passive recovery. Active recovery involves activities such as light walking or stretching, whereas passive recovery involves activities such as getting a massage or being stretched by someone else. Both of these types of recovery are a fantastic way to experience a different form of movement in a low intensity environment – and, of course, it feels great to get a massage!

5. Rest days actually improve your workouts

Having a rest day not only gives your body a chance to repair and recover, but also gives your head a break. This allows you to free up brain space, and dedicate time to other areas of your life that matter to you. Then, when it is time to exercise again, you can approach the session with more energy, clarity, determination and focus, which will lead to a higher quality workout.

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fitness | body+soul