This message is geared towards someone who has been in the habit of exercise for several years and is wondering what is the right amount of rest they should be taking each week.
I want to define a rest day as a day that you do not workout. Maybe you are in the routine of working out Monday through Friday and you rest on the weekends. That doesn’t mean you lay in bed all weekend it simply means you do not workout.
What is the benefit of rest days?
Your body recharges on rest days and your muscles actually repair and grow on rest days. Depending on the intensity of your workouts it could be more or less physically beneficial. But I believe one of the primary benefits is the mental break you get from working out. Of course there is a physical break but mentally you are not committing to the chore of exercise and that is very beneficial.
When is too much rest not good?
If you take too many days off then you may find it more difficult to start back up. It doesn’t take long for this to happen. Even as little as two consecutive rest days can make you feel more tired and less motivated.
So if rest is good and our bodies need it but too much of it can hurt us what is the correct amount of rest we need?
I recommend taking no more than two days off consecutively and ideally one. This would require you to exercise on weekends which I think is a good idea. Maybe you take a rest day during the week and then another rest day on the weekend. But in my opinion taking more than two days off consecutively will make it much harder for you to bounce back.
This is from personal experience. I can honestly say that if I take two days off it is harder for me to come back and workout than if I take one day off or even no time off at all. I like to move everyday. It makes my body feel good and I always feel better after a workout.
I hope you can apply this to your current routine. If you are taking too many days off and finding it difficult to bounce back now you know why. Try to limit rest days to no more than one to two days in a row. Stay in the habit of exercise. This strategy will help you stick with that habit for a lifetime.