Why are Rest Days so Important?

A mistake that's commonly made by athletes is to exceed their training time when starting a new activity. Keep reading to learn why rest is so important.
Why are Rest Days so Important?

Last update: 15 November, 2019

Far from being beneficial, the consequences of excessive training can be harmful. When designing a workout plan, rest days are a detail that should never be left behind.

When it comes to extreme fatigue, especially when it comes to people who are accustomed to physical activity, it’s a sign that the body is reaching a critical point. It’s best to suspend exercise at that moment before it’s too late.

The basic rules about training

Regardless of the objective pursued through your physical activities, there are basic guidelines that should be followed. Besides exercising regularly, there are basic rules that when followed adequately reduce the risk of injury.

One of these rules is to respect the techniques while training. That’s why it’s important to follow the instructions of your coach or trainer. If you decide to practice activities on your own such as running outdoors, you can still contact an expert for some advice.

static training

Before starting each session, it’s important to stretch and warm-up. In addition, it’s important to maintain proper hydration before, during and after training. Following these steps is an effective way to avoid painful setbacks in the form of muscle damage.

Another important aspect is to respect rest days between sessions. These are moments which allow the muscles and the body as a whole to recover after physical effort. The mind also has to relax from the stress that exercise generates.

Days off

You should rest for at least one day of the week. Most trainers, however, recommend taking two rest days a week.

On the other hand, if you’re just starting to exercise after a long period without physical activity it’s best to start with 45-minute sessions three days a week.

Passive and active rest

There are two ways to rest when it comes to rest days. As the name implies, the first option consists of days with no physical activity for training purposes.

Active rest sessions consist of exercising at a much lower intensity and for a shorter duration of time.


Twenty-minute walks or gentle jogs are two of the most popular options when it comes to active rest sessions. Other options include cycling, swimming, Pilates and stretching.

Those who recommend active breaks claim that it’s the only way to expel the toxins generated by the physical stress of high-intensity exercise. Active rest sessions also reduce the impact on sensitive parts of the body after exercise.

Sleeping well, the most important rest

There’s no recovery time more important than hours of sleep. Sleep is not only important for athletes it’s important for everyone.

People who don’t respect rest times are exposed to various kinds of risks. The risks that sleep debt has will range from cardiovascular problems to difficulty concentrating and a higher probability of suffering from muscle injuries.

Sleeping is when the body “reboots”. In addition, it’s during sleep that hormones related to growth and muscle regeneration are secreted.

When it comes to muscle development, it’s practically impossible for a person to increase the size of their muscles if they don’t sleep enough every night.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.