Exercise can be very addicting, especially for gym-goers, weekend warriors, or anyone else interested in getting fit or working out. The problem is, our obsession with achieving a perfectly toned body can lead to worse consequences, such as body pain like whiplash, muscle soreness, emotional changes, and even poor performance.
Most athletes and fitness buffs feel guilty whenever they take a day off from the gym or training. They think that resting is only for the weak or the idea of missing out. In this article, we’ll discuss why rest and recovery are necessary for the body and how they will affect your overall physical performance.
Improves muscle recovery
Exercise uses up the muscles’ glycogen levels or the body’s energy storage. Without enough rest, too much exercise causes the muscle tissue to break down, resulting in muscle fatigue. Giving your muscles adequate recovery time helps the body to replenish the body’s energy source and repair damaged tissues.
The damage caused by exercise triggers the body’s immune system to repair any damage. When the body’s tissues, such as the bones and muscles, recover, your entire body becomes slightly fitter than it used to. The next time you do the same activity, your body won’t sustain a lot of damage anymore.
But for this to happen, your body has to experience damage and stress for it to adapt and be more efficient. This is the body’s way of adapting to different types of physical exercise or learning a new, difficult skill. At first, the body has to tolerate a certain level of stress and pressure before it suffers an injury and breaks down. Once you develop a habit out of it, the body goes through a process of stress and recovery, which leads to optimal health and fitness.
Lack of muscle recovery compromises physical performance since the body doesn’t have sufficient time to recover the muscles from damage and replenish glycogen stores. When left unchecked, this can result in sustained muscle pain and soreness. But keep in mind that there are limits on how the body experiences stress because overexertion can lead to muscle damage or injuries.
Prevents the risk of injury
There’s a reason why coaches never allow their trainees to skip the rest and recovery part of their training. Rest rejuvenates the body to enhance stamina during workout sessions. There’s no way to push your body to its optimal level without giving it time to recover in between. Too few rest days can result in overtraining syndrome.
Overtraining causes the body to train too hard and use up all its muscle strength, resulting in injury and burnout. This condition is widespread among elite and endurance athletes. Common injuries include stress fractures, muscle strains, and runner’s knee.
A study reveals insufficient rest and recovery leads to depression, dehydration, hormonal disturbances, neurological changes, mood swings, increased body fat, and weak immune function. Tiredness also leads to poor decision-making during workout routines, making you prone to making mistakes and sustaining injury.
To minimize workout-related injury, experts suggest spreading out exercise sessions throughout the week instead of performing for a single day. For those who are just starting a workout routine or increasing their exercise intensity, it’s important to start your sessions slowly to allow your muscles to adapt and reduce the risk of injuries.
Most people, particularly athletes, dread the idea of taking the day off. The truth is, recovery days can make a big difference in the quality of your training or exercise. The amount of rest days required varies per person, but experts recommend taking at least two days off each week. Technically, recovery becomes a part of your exercise routine as it lets your muscles heal while making you stronger.
Don’t be afraid to free your workout time slot by doing other worthwhile activities. A healthy life is all about finding the right balance. Being healthy isn’t just about having a perfectly toned body, but it’s the ability to divide your time between work, personal life, and your fitness routine.
If you cannot forego a day without exercise, you can engage in active recovery where you perform a low-intensity exercise, incurring minimal stress on your body.
Recovery is an essential part of the workout process. It improves muscle strength, boosts the body’s ability to adapt, and reduces the risks of muscle injury. If your body feels too tired from all the workout sessions, give it time to rest and allow it to respond better to the stress you put into it. At the end of the day, rest doesn’t make you weaker but even stronger.
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