Recovery is one of the most important aspects of exercise. Whilst lifting heavy and training hard are important, a common mistake people make is that they see working out more and harder as better. Muscles need rest time in order to strengthen and grow, therefore making rest days – gain days. Over training can result in decreased performance, elevated blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and disturbed sleep to name a few.
The time needed for recover is widely debated in the research and anywhere from 8 to 72 hours is thought to be necessary. While the actual time needed is not known, some amount of rest in your exercise routine is crucial. Your muscles may not need to take a total break from movement in order to fully recover. Studies have shown low-intensity post-workout exercise, such as swimming laps or taking a walk, can increase muscle relaxation, and benefit recovery. Other forms of active recovery include ROMWOD, yoga, pilates or light jogging. While active recovery is great for the body, some days you just need a full rest day and that is thoroughly recommended.
The bottom line is, there is no magic formula for optimal days of rest. Things to take into consideration include: your fitness level, workout intensity, frequency and the duration of activity. Other stressors in your life can add to the picture and make recovery slower. Most importantly you need to listen to your body, if you are continuously stiff, sore, fatigued, or lack the ability to push hard during a wod, your body is probably telling you that it needs a rest. If in doubt take a day off and come back the day after and you may feel you can push twice as hard.
Don’t forget, always warm down after a workout, spend some quality time getting acquainted with the foam roller, eat well, sleep well and when you’re not resting, train hard!
Bring on the summer gains,