Regardless of one’s athletic ability and intensity in workouts, everyone should have at least one day a week where they have a break from the usual hard work- a rest day. Rest days are a crucial part of exercise to ensure your body is getting a good balance between activity and recovery time. Whether it is strength or cardiovascular improvements that you are aiming for, the body needs time to recover- improvements are essentially made as the body starts to recover quicker after workouts. Think back to the first day you get back into exercises, the next day people are often quite sore, compared to three weeks later where you can continue your normal activity without any significant pain.
- Start thinking of more “ACTIVE” rest day.
It is important to have a rest day but understand what that means. The key is to think of it as an “ACTIVE” rest day. Having a break from your usual workout routine is great but don’t do a complete 180 and do nothing on your rest day. It is still important to stay active, not necessarily to the same intensity as the rest of the week. Going for a walk, cycle, hike, smaller jog/run, walking the dog, playing outside with the kids etc are all great ways to remain active, at a lower level than the rest of the week.
Using the rest day as a chance to regroup is great! Time often slips away during the week with commitments at work, home and any social events so you need time to tick the boxes off your to do list. A smart way to stay active on your rest day is by making it functional. Clean the house, mow the lawns, work on the house renovations, meet a friend for coffee and a walk. The point is to use this time to get the to do list completed and staying active.
- Change it up
Another great option for the active rest days are to change things up a bit. If you don’t need the time to re-group use this time to be adventurous and do something you usually wouldn’t. Being outdoors and enjoying what beautiful New Zealand has to offer is a great way to get active and de-stress. Take the family for a walk on the beach, take the dog to a new park, try stand up paddle boarding etc. Use the time to do the things you always wanted to try, but never had the time.
- Eat healthy
Just because you are not following your training programme or in your usual routine, does not mean you can overlook what you are eating. There are several saying such as “put in, what you want to get out” or “food is the fuel for the body” etc that are all true, and that needs to be kept in mind. Yes, having those guilty pleasures are okay but it needs to be in moderation. Your diet is a large part of your success when it comes to lifestyle changes, often more than people realise, so this cannot be ignored on the rest days.