When it comes to exercise an important rule to remember is balance. You will not do your body any favors by doing too little exercise or doing too much. Getting your fitness regimen just right may mean taking it easy every now and then. Don’t feel guilty about a day off. Believe it or not, a day of rest may actually help boost your fitness level.

If you are wondering about taking a rest day, following are a few reasons to go for it…

  • Rest aids in muscle development – Exercise can cause small tears in muscle tissue and fiber. During periods of rest the body works to repair this damage and in the process builds stronger muscles.
  • Rest can prevent injury from overtraining – Common injuries include those to the knees and back.
  • Rest reduces muscle fatigue – Fatigued muscles make it challenging to maintain the correct form during exercise. This can also lead to injury.

How do you know you need a rest day? It is a good idea to take a rest day if…

Beautiful young woman taking a break from running

Your body sends you a signal. The old saying, no pain, no gain, is not entirely true. Mild soreness after exercise is normal. Pain from pulls, strains or overuse is not normal and should not be ignored. It is better to take a day or two off than it is to risk an injury that will sideline you for weeks.

Your mind needs a break. Again, with exercise balance is the name of the game. Even with fitness there can be too much of a good thing. Keep your routine fresh with variety and regular rest breaks. A rest day may help prevent exercise burnout.

What should you do on your rest day?

Our bodies need and like to be in motion. There are many ways to do a rest day. These include:

  • Going for a swim instead of a run.
  • Going for a stroll instead of playing tennis.
  • Doing yoga instead of high impact aerobics or spin class

A complete rest day might be just a few simple stretches for 5 minutes in the morning and evening.

Feed your body right on rest day.

A day off from your regular fitness routine should not mean a day on the couch with junk food. Choose healthy foods that prepare your body for a great work out when the rest day is done.

It is a good idea to include at least one regular rest day in your weekly workout plan. It is also a good idea to work these days into your schedule. Planning ahead can help you avoid injury and stay on track. Keep moving!