The Five Essential Benefits of Recovery Days

It might sound paradoxical, but one of the secrets to getting the most out of fitness is to not go all out, all the time. The body works best when it is given time to rest. That’s why taking regular recovery days is important for anyone who works out. Read on to find the five big benefits of recovery days.


  1. Increased muscle growth. During strenuous exercise, tiny tears are produced in the muscle fibers. These tiny tears are actually the secret to increasing strength. As the tears are repaired, the muscle becomes larger and more capable.


  1. Reduced injury risk. Recovery days allow the body time to repair and heal itself from the stresses of working out. The body can only be pushed so hard safely. Without adequate recovery, issues that would otherwise be minor can turn into full-blown serious injuries. Ironically, such injuries can disrupt exercise for weeks or months. Recovery days actually allow for more exercise in the end.


  1. No burnout. Exercise encompasses more than just the body. The mind matters too. Recovery days help avoid the boredom and mental exhaustion known as burnout. Skipping recovery days is playing with fire from a psychological perspective. Eventually, a breaking point will come. Ceaseless effort just isn’t sustainable.


  1. Improved performance. Experiencing fatigue before a workout even begins makes top performance impossible. Many serious athletes actually rest for days or weeks before big competitions. Rest periods replenish energy and rid the body of minor injuries that are hampering performance. Overtraining, in contrast, can lower endurance and reduce reaction time.


  1. Better sleep. Working out too much puts the body into overdrive. The body’s natural hormonal balance becomes disrupted. Excessive amounts of adrenaline and cortisol are produced, making deep, restful sleep difficult. In addition, poor quality sleep itself in turn reduces athletic performance.


Incorporating recovery days into a regular exercise routine is smart. It’s even more important to take recovery days after unusually difficult workouts. For example, it would be crazy to go out running the day after completing a full marathon. Similarly, one should take a break after trying a totally new workout for the first time. When it comes to recovery days, remember rest isn’t just an option, it’s a must.