Rest and recovery days are just as important as the time you spend working out. When you take time to rest, it helps your body recover and make the most of your workouts while helping protect you from overdoing it. A rest day isn’t just about sitting on the couch, though. While there are times when it’s a good idea to give your body a complete rest, most of the time an active recovery day is good. You can make the most of your rest time by trying out these five tips.
1) Go For a Walk
Rest days are a perfect time for a walk or a non-strenuous hike. Walking on rest days is particularly good if you’re walking in a park or other location where you can spend time in nature. According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature can improve attention, lower stress, and have a variety of other mental health benefits.
2) Change How You Sit
People weren’t designed to sit in chairs all day. Even when you’re resting, pay close attention to how you’re sitting and try to change it up when you can. Kneeling or sitting cross-legged uses different muscles than sitting with your butt in a chair and feet on the floor. Same for squatting or sitting with your legs out in front of you. If you’re not used to sitting like this, build up to it gradually (yoga can help with this). Even varying the ways you sit to watch TV in the evenings can have a positive impact on your range of motion.
3) Eat Well and Hydrate
Eating good food, drinking plenty of water, and making sure you get enough sleep are just as important on rest days as they are during the rest of the week. Just because you’re resting from your regular exercise routine doesn’t mean you need to take a break from all your fitness goals!
4) Practice Yoga
Practicing gentle yoga can be a great way to make the most of your rest days. Just remember there are different types of yoga, and some can give you more of a workout than you might want on a rest day. Go for hatha or yin yoga for gentle, restorative postures. Move slowly and gently, and take this opportunity to practice mindfulness.
5) Get Some Sleep
Making sure you get enough sleep (7-8 hours a night for most people) has many positive impacts on your body. Sleeping well can improve immunity, reduce stress, and help you recover better on your rest days. A good night’s sleep can even help you lose weight!
If you work with a personal trainer or attend group classes at Extreme Studio Performance, you can ask us for rest day tips personalized to your unique fitness goals. Even if you don’t work one-on-one with a trainer when you’re here, we’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you make the most of your time at the gym and the days when you’re resting.