Just like proceeding with training and challenging your physical limits is essential for any athlete, rest is also an aspect of primary importance. Many athletes underestimate or forget the importance of rest and this can result in fatigue, poor performance and even injury.
Many people find it difficult to understand, but rest is an important component of training, in all its possible meanings: rest between different exercises, between one training session and another (e.g. morning and afternoon), as well as between the various days of the week.
Read on to learn more about the importance of rest.
The general recommendation for amateur sports is to avoid training for a minimum of two days a week, preferably three. This timing can vary for professionals and athletes at a competitive level because coaches typically create a specific program of complementary exercises that vary in intensity and allow you to exercise different muscles and skills every day.
What is the importance of rest?
When exercising, the body demands a high level of functioning, above its normal level of functioning. Therefore, it makes sense that you need to return to normal activity levels later and allow your body time to resume its routine.
Increase in muscle mass
When training muscles, working with heavy bars and loads can damage the fibers and tissues that make up the muscles. Subsequently, in periods of inactivity, these are rebuilt with the help of proteins obtained from food: in this way muscle growth occurs.
The importance of rest, in this case, does not only refer to the days when you do not go to the gym: getting enough sleep is also essential, since many of these regeneration processes occur during the night’s rest.
Rest your mind
No matter how passionate you are about sports, there always comes a time when you need to stop and take a break. During training sessions and competitions the mind is under pressure from the need to deal with the required efforts.
It is immediately evident that it is not possible to repeat this type of effort every day: if we do not allow the brain to rest, the results will be demotivation, decline in performance and failure to achieve one’s goals. The phenomenon of “burnout” does not occur exclusively at work: it can also happen in the context of sport.
Consequences of non-compliance with rest times
Many athletes report a decline in performance after one or more days of rest. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Conversely, at least two weeks of inactivity are required to experience a noticeable drop in performance.
In any type of sport, most professional teams have at least one day off during the week, particularly the day after a competition or the day after.
What can happen if you don’t get enough rest ? Here are some of the possible consequences.
In most cases, cramps, contractures and muscle fiber injuries are caused by overtraining. In the worst cases, to avoid a one or two day break, the athlete finds himself facing a mandatory stop of two or three weeks.
Also, in case of constant sports training, not respecting the rest days can cause stress injuries. This occurs when the joints or bones are constantly subjected to pressure, movement or impact: in the long run this causes severe damage, including fracture of the bone.
Demotivation and failure to achieve results
As mentioned, the importance of rest is largely due to the fact that it is precisely then that major changes occur in the body following physical exertion. Otherwise, the athlete will experience a decrease in performance.
This will cause anxiety and disappointment and these feelings, together with the decline in performance caused by fatigue – even moderate – will lead to a state of demotivation. At this point, the fateful straw that broke the camel’s back and could lead to the failure of a complex training plan would be an overload injury. In this way we have described everything that an athlete should not do.
Therefore, next time you take a day off, you absolutely must not feel guilty ! On the contrary, consider it a passive training day and take advantage of it to recharge your batteries. A good tip for these moments is to maintain a correct diet and relax the mind with recreational activities that do not require excessive physical exertion.