Resting From Workouts: How Often Should You Take Rest Days?

Keep in mind that rest days are as important as days when you exercise. While rest days may appear as days for slacking, it’s not. In fact, if you follow a plan wherein rest days are properly incorporated into your workout routine, you’ll have a better chance of building muscles and increasing speed, as well as losing weight.

If you think about it, your body is better able to do those exercises if you are properly rested. You need to have time to recover. Rest days are not only for the body but also for the mind.

Consider how a poor night’s sleep can lead to poor performance the following day. This goes the same for when you’re not taking rest days. You’ll notice how your cognitive skills aren’t the best and you’ll experience how your body often falls into a catabolic state. As a result, your stress levels increase that you often experience mood shifts and lack muscle strength.

So, how often should you take rest days?

Well, for those who are simply starting on a new workout routine, the third day is the best day to take rest days. You’ll work out for two consecutive days and rest on the third. On another note, those who are experienced exercisers can take a rest day every week. Also, there should be an entire week where you de-train or simply reduce your training load. This is usually done every eight weeks.

Now that we have established how often a beginner exerciser and an experienced exerciser should take rest days, let’s determine what constitutes a rest day.

The level of inactiveness of your rest days greatly depends on how intense your workout sessions are. If you are working out daily, then you should spend your rest day completely off from taxing your body. You can go for a walk but shouldn’t do any physical work, which means no gym.

If you are a beginner exerciser, you can take a more active rest day. You can play a sport, take a yoga class and go for a light jog or even longer walks.

People are exercising in the gym. People do exercises in a fitness park of the Barceloneta's beach, in Barcelona on June 12, 2016. PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images