Accurately determining how much rest someone needs after their workouts is a problem that many of us face. We all want to maximize how much we progress in a given amount of time-to get the most bang for our buck so to speak. Because of this we try to jam as many physical activities as we can in our schedule to make the most of it.
The problem with this train of thought is that rest is an extremely important aspect to your fitness routine. Not only will sleep do the obvious in giving you enough rest to recover back your energy, but much of the repair and maintenance that the body carries out is done during sleep also.
This means that sleep is just as important to your progression and goals as your actual routine is, an extremely important point to know which many people simply do not.
The first thing you need to know which may be obvious to the more seasoned fitness fanatics is that the rest you need will be determined by what type of exercise routine you do. This probably sounds obvious, but many people make the mistake of overtraining and not giving themselves the necessary time needed for recovery.
If you are someone who likes to weight train for exercise, you should only train each body part every other day. This is because your skeletal muscle tissue needs about 48 hours to fully repair the damage you did prior. For example if you worked shoulders on Monday, you should hold off on working them again till at least Wednesday.
With this being said it doesn’t mean that you can only weight train every other day-just do so that you are taxing your body equally. Overtraining is something only endurance athletes and people who spend upwards of 3 hours or more each day at the gym. If this doesn’t sound like you, don’t get too crazy about worrying about overtraining, and just stick to your routine.
The same general idea goes for those who choose endurance exercises such as long distance jogging or biking-you can work out every day but you have to vary up your routine in order to do so.
If you are training for an endurance event a good rule of thumb is to only go 100% once or twice a week while training. Doing so more often than that is going to burn your body out, making you more fatigued and thus more prone to injury. You also need to give your body adequate time to not only replenish those glycogen stores-but to recover from minor injuries such as shin splints, and tendonitis.
No one really likes to hear advice like “listen to what your body says” but the truth of the matter is that everyone is different. Some people are going to have to adjust their routines more so than others when it comes to adequate recovery time.
The pace you are going to be able to go at is going to differ than someone else’s so your best bet is to listen to what your body says and adjust accordingly. One huge thing everyone needs to know is the difference of feeling hurt or fatigued versus suffering a serious injury.
Being fatigued leads to more injuries as we progress through exercise, because of the extra strain on our skeletal system and joints. This is because once the muscles start losing their ability to perform all of this work, all of that force and stress is transferred on to our bones, ligaments, and tendons.
These body parts are not designed to take on all of this load on their own, and inevitably will deteriorate over time. Listen to your body, and when you start becoming fatigued to the point where you are “cheating”-you probably want to stop exercising.
Something that every person who exercises should know is that more isn’t necessarily better. If you are feeling fatigued and out of gas towards the end of your exercise, it is usually in your best interest to just cut it short then and there.
It is not worth the extra mile or hundred calories that you may gain from powering through, as you may injure yourself. Remember that missing out on a mile here and there is better than having to take months off from exercise due to an avoidable injury.