Exercise has an important relationship with your health. The better shape you’re in, the healthier you tend to be.
What’s often overlooked is taking time to recover. In the race to get fit, many forgo resting after workouts, which can have devastating effects on the human body. Resting has even been called the most important component of an exercise program. What are the benefits of rest, and how much should you be taking after a workout?
How Much Recovery Should I Take?
The exact amount of rest needed after exercising depends on a variety of factors. A person’s fitness level and age certainly contribute, as does the intensity of the workout.
Generally, recovery is broken down into two kinds: Short-term and long-term. Short-term recovery is the rest you take immediately following a workout. This can be anything from a cool down run to going to sleep that night.
Long-term recovery refers to the strategic rest days that you take as part of a regimen. For example, if you plan to run three days per week, the other days would be part of your long-term recovery.
Generally, recovery is broken down into two kinds: Short-term and long-term. You need both!
Experts promote 2-3 days of rest a week, depending on your fitness level. Seniors should take a bit more rest time, considering muscle recovery slows as we age.
As always, consulting a doctor about appropriate workout and rest regimens for you should come first.
OK, so we know how much rest we should have each week. Why is it so important? A big reason is because the rest period is when your body fixes the wear and tear you put on it through exercise. This period is when your muscles adapt to the exertion, which is how you improve your fitness. If you don’t give yourself a break, you make the workout less effective.
What resting prevents is as important as what it does. Since resting is when your body rebuilds the muscles, skipping it increases the chance of injury. Ailments can include a stress fracture, cramps, or muscle strains.
Continuing to skip resting puts one at risk of overtraining syndrome, which occurs when you work your body too hard without enough rest. It can be debilitating to those who are suffering from it, with wide-reaching symptoms such as persistent muscle soreness, insomnia, depression, and increased risk of further injury.
Regardless of age, it’s important to make sure you’re working rests into your routine.
Regardless of age, it’s important to make sure you’re working rests into your routine. As with most things fitness, the specifics depend on you. Pay close attention to your body and rest when you feel the need.
We recommend running any new workouts by your personal care physician. They will be able to give you a better idea about what you can and can’t handle.
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Greatist — How Many Rest Days Do I Really Need?
LIFEHACKER — Do You Really Need a Rest Day After Exercise?
verywell — Why Athletes Need Rest and Recovery After Exercise