As I start this blog, I sit here in my bed resting my feet trying to take my own advice. At 32 weeks pregnant I realize my body NEEDS it! I tell clients and patients every day how important it is to incorporate at least one rest day into their weekly routines, yet most people don’t take this advice thinking a rest day is a wasted day. Many active people feel that a long walk, or yoga class, or even a “light” run is a day off from their normal routine. When health & wellness professionals talk about a “day off” we mean it literally. REST YOUR BODY! That means no physical exercise that stresses your muscles, joints, or soft tissue structures.
Why is rest important for the physical function of your body? Here is the short list:
Rest will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system
- Stimulates improved digestion
- Calms down your heart’s rhythm
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps your body calm down from stress reactions
Rest helps stressed muscles recover in order to get stronger
- Without proper rest, your body will suffer with overtraining
- Strengthening muscles happens throughout a process of stressing the muscle, letting the muscle break-down a bit, and then resting the muscle so the muscle fibers can heal stronger. Overstressing of a muscle will actually lead to weakening of the muscles if you don’t give the muscle a rest period
- Rest will stimulate your immune system – A sick body leads to weakness and fatigue, impeding the training process
So, try rest! A restorative yoga class, a home stretching day, a salt bath soak, massage, or filling your fitness time with a good book! Trust me, it is better for the body than you can imagine!