Recovery Matters: The Benefits of a Day Off
- Taking a day off from exercise can prevent injury, as tired muscles may result in poor form and increase the risk of injury.
- Giving your body a day of rest allows the immune system to catch up and repair muscles and joints that have been strained during exercise.
- Rest days can be beneficial for mental health, as it can help restore motivation and prevent boredom from the same exercise routine. A recovery day can look different for each person, depending on their fitness level and routine.
It’s still a pretty new year, and if you are like most of the world, you made a resolution to treat your body better. Now that we are a few months in, maybe you have let it slide a little. Maybe your resolution was to lose weight, exercise more, or eat more healthily. If you have decided to exercise or move more, your initial thought might be to take off and start exercising every day.
Do not let your enthusiasm for a healthier you derail your attempts right away. Everyone needs a day off from their workout—even seasoned veterans, world-class athletes, and competitive athletes need to give their bodies a chance to rest. Here are three main reasons for you to take a break.
It Prevents Injury
When you are tired, you are not able to do exercises as carefully as you can when you are fresh. If your muscles are too tired, your form won’t be as good, leading to injury. Imagine that you’re doing squats—the first 20 squats will look better than the last 5—even if you are doing everything right and wearing your most comfortable shoes. You are much more likely to injure your knee or back when your form is off.
Now imagine that you have been doing 25 squats every day for the last week—you are much more likely to be injured on Saturday than on Monday because your muscles are tired. Taking a day for recovery can help you prevent that injury.
“When you are tired you are not able to be as careful while exercising as you can when you are fresh. If your muscles are too tired, your form might lead to injury.”
It Lets Your Immune System Do Its Job
Your immune system is an incredible piece of equipment. When you put tiny tears in your muscles (which is required when you build muscle) or strain your joints in small ways, your immune system is kicked into gear. It immediately gets to work making repairs. It is estimated that it takes 36 hours for your body to repair itself. If you are working out every day (especially if you are working the same muscle groups every day), you don’t give your immune system a chance to catch up. Bad things can happen if you don’t let your body catch up.
One of your body’s immune system’s main methods of making you catch up is to swell. Taking a day off can prevent your immune system from making your knees swell up after tweaking them. One day of rest can prevent you from being forced to take a week off from injury.
It Saves Your Mental Health
Some people think that if you take a day off from exercising, you are suddenly on a slippery slope toward breaking your resolutions and never exercising again. This isn’t true. Taking a day off can restore your mental health and make you more motivated than ever to keep training. Your mind really can get bored with the same exercises repeatedly. Taking a day off can wipe the slate clean and make you remember your goals. It seems crazy, but exercise is as much a mental activity as physical activity. Your exercise routine will suffer if you can’t get your mind in the game.
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What Does a Day of Recovery Look Like?
A recovery day will look different for every different person. If you are new to working out, you should take at least two days off a week. Depending on your exercise routine, your day off does not mean you have to sit around eating bonbons all day. Instead of going to the gym or doing a workout video, put on a good pair of walking shoes and go for a slow walk—keep your muscles moving but don’t push it too hard. If you are used to working out and already have a regular workout schedule, you still need to take a recovery day.
If you are a mind/body athlete (people who do things like yoga and pilates are mind/body athletes), your days off might be a cardio routine. If you are heavy into cardio, take at least one day a week to do something different—shed your athletic shoes, take a yoga class or do light weightlifting. If you enjoy a variety of workout routines, be sure that you are giving your major muscle groups a chance to relax. Don’t go running the day after leg day—give your legs a little time to recover.
Good luck with your resolutions. Know that we here at KURU are rooting for you. We know that moving your body a little bit every day can make a real difference in health and happiness. That’s why we make KURU shoes—our amazing KURUSOLE technology, along with a day off to let your body recover, are sure to help you on your goals to better health in this new year.
At KURU, we’re on a mission to help you Heel Better™ with footwear technology designed to relieve foot pain, so you can live a life you love. Since launching our innovative technology in 2008, we’ve received more than 29,000 five-star reviews from thousands of customers who tell us their KURU shoes helped them with conditions (such as plantar fasciitis) and got them back to doing what they love. Explore our guide to the best shoes for plantar fasciitis to find a pair that fits your needs.
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