If you’re trying to improve your physical fitness, rest days are just as important as the time you spend in the gym. Each time you train, you’re causing your muscle fibers to be broken down, and rest is needed in order for them to repair. In addition, not giving your body enough rest can cause long-term injuries and put additional stress on your joints.
Any good athlete will have rest days in their training regime, allowing their body time to recover. However, there are a lot of different opinions on what you should do on rest days. Some people think it’s best to rest completely, doing nothing but watching and betting on sports at Betway or something else that they do to relax. Others believe you should do active rest, taking part in low-impact steady state (LISS) cardio. In reality, there are lots of things you can do to help improve your overall conditioning while still recovering.
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors that will affect how you recover. The majority of the work that is done to repair your body is done while you sleep, so it’s critical that you spend enough time in bed getting quality rest. In addition, getting enough sleep will help you stay mentally focused and feel better overall. Doctors recommend that you sleep eight hours every night, but you may need more after heavy training sessions.
Make sure you get to sleep early and stay away from your phone or TV for at least an hour before you sleep. Some research suggests that blue light emitted from our screens can interfere with our sleep patterns. You should also ensure that you have little distractions to help keep your mind relaxed and allow yourself to drift off into sleep.
Your nutrition is incredibly important for fueling your body and making sure it has the right components for repair. On high-intensity training days, you’ll need a lot of carbs for fuel, while on rest days, it’s more important to focus on getting enough protein. Your diet is essential for recovery, and you’ll want to make sure you have the right vitamins and minerals too.
Make an effort to include lean sources of protein in all of your meals, and supplement with protein shakes if needed. You should also include lots of vegetables and leafy greens as much as you can, as these are packed with fiber and vitamins. Although you can take a multivitamin to supplement your diet, these shouldn’t be relied upon.
Incorporate Flexibility Work
While you don’t want to be doing anything strenuous on your rest days, you can still work on your body. Flexibility work is a great way to keep yourself active while still recovering, and it being more flexible can aid your workouts. Look to incorporate some light stretching workouts, ensuring you carefully stretch to avoid the risk of injury.
Just a few minutes of light stretching can help to alleviate tight muscles and general soreness, and you can also use a foam roller. This can give you a myofascial massage, helping to release knots in your muscles and reduce soreness while improving your range of motion.
Light intensity steady state cardio, also known as LISS, is a great way to stay active without compromising recovery. This can include light yoga or Pilates or simply taking a walk or a bike ride at a leisurely pace. You can do 30 minutes of LISS to a few hours, provided you listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
The overall aim of LISS cardio should be to give your muscles a stretch and keep your blood flowing around your body. You shouldn’t be trying to break a sweat or tire yourself out. At the end of the session, you should feel more relaxed and comfortable.