Getting into shape doesn’t all have to happen while busting it in the gym. Rest days are as important as any other day to avoid burnout.
And while working out is what you want to be doing, the rest of the days that come between can be a welcome break. So now the question becomes, how do you get the most out of your resting days? How do you support your fitness gains?
We’re here to help. Read on for tips on making the most of your rest days.
Check how you can maximize the time you have available. Plan the activities you want to do, such as leisure activities, outings, and hobbies. Make sure you set aside time to relax and rest.
Unplug and take a break from your phone and other social media. Doing something that brings you joy or some form of self-care will help relieve stress and rejuvenate your body.
Plan ahead and create a list of activities you want to do to optimize your rest days. Doing this will help you use your time and feel relaxed and recharged.
Foam Rolling and Stretching
Foam rolling reduces tension in your muscles and fascia that can become stiff or tight from working out. Muscles release their fibers, improving blood circulation and reducing inflammation.
For the fitness journey, stretching helps keep your body limber and flexible, allowing for a greater range of motion during exercise. On rest days, use a foam roller to discuss any knots or tightness in your muscles, then move into stretching to loosen them up.
Take the time to discuss these issues during your days off to keep your body healthy and ready for intensive workouts. Not only will you be able to increase the intensity of your workout, but you’ll also be protecting against potential injury.
Massage therapy helps improve circulation, resulting in a boost of energy and nourishment to your muscles and joints. It can target certain achy areas, relieving pain and improving the range of motion.
You can relax tight muscles and reduce muscle tension, promoting faster recovery time after strenuous activities. It can help you better understand your body’s limitations, allowing you to make adjustments to your training intensity.
It can even help lower your stress level, allowing for a calmer, more productive approach to your next workout. You can focus your efforts on recovery during your rest days to make the most of your training or competition.
Taking a Bath
The soothing warmth of a warm bath can help to relax tense muscles while helping to reduce stress. The weightless sensation of being submerged can also help to evoke a calming and meditative feeling.
Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to your bath can further enhance the experience. Make sure to use quality oils that are designed for baths, as this will help to produce a more intense aroma.
Practicing mindfulness can help you to become more connected to your daily life and lead to a greater sense of well-being. Take a few minutes to focus on your breath and meditate to reduce stress and clear your mind.
When your rest days come around, it can be helpful to choose an activity that you find enjoyable and relaxing. This could be going for a walk in the park or enjoying lunch with friends.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep ensures that we are able to bring our best selves to whatever activities we want to do. A lack of sleep can also lead to negative effects such as irritability and being “off” during our activities.
Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and if you are sleeping in on your days off, it is fine to sleep a little longer. The key to making the most of your rest days is making and feeling well-rested.
Take a Supplement
You can take supplements like fish oil, glucosamine, and omega-3. It can help decrease inflammation, improve joint health and reduce muscle soreness.
Elite athletes have used these supplements for years to optimize recovery and boost performance on game days. Other supplements, such as protein powders, support muscle recovery and development.
You can take vitamins such as vitamin D, B12, and chromium. It can help boost energy levels, enhance mental focus, and improve performance.
Another choice is Creatine which can give your resting muscles an energy source they would not get while resting. If you are asking yourself if “Should I take creatine everyday,” the answer will depend on your health needs.
Eat Proper Nutrition
Eating the right foods can help you maximize your rest days to repair and rebuild after tough workouts. Eat nutrient-rich foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables to give your body with the essential building blocks it needs to recover.
Drink plenty of water, eat plenty of fiber, and limit processed foods. It can stave off cravings and give your body the fuel it needs to stay energized and continue your health goals.
Eating a balanced diet will also help support healthy blood sugar levels. It is important for proper recovery and optimized energy levels during rest days.
Incorporate foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as leafy greens, nuts, and turmeric. It may reduce inflammation and offer more benefits, like improved joint health.
There are many fun and healthy social activities to choose from. Invite a few friends over for a movie night or game night. It is a great way to relax and bond with your friends or family.
Consider hitting the local gym or a nearby hiking trail with friends, or if you’re feeling ambitious, having a picnic in the park. Grabbing lunch or dinner with friends is a great way to catch up and spend quality time together.
A Guide to Making the Most of Your Rest Days
Taking rest days can leave one feeling guilty and unproductive, but that isn’t the case. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you can use your rest day to your best advantage.
Take the time to recharge and refocus by scheduling time for yourself. Get started today, and take the time to rest and reset. You’ll be glad you did.
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