Regular exercise is good for overall health but it doesn’t mean you have to do it every day or overdo it. Rest days are very important between workouts to allow your muscles to recover from the possible damage during exercise.
Several studies have also highlighted the importance of rest days in maintaining good health and fitness. Therefore both rest and recovery should be a part of your training program.
Rest is defined as a period of time without any training and it is usually about 24 hours for most people.
According to Dr. Jaswinder Kaur Senior physiotherapist at RML hospital New Delhi, The type of exercise needs to be changed with time. It’s important to have rest days between workouts as exercise causes muscle fatigue. If you are exercising with the same intensity every day then it might cause muscle fatigue and that’s need to be avoided. It is generally recommended to exercise 5 days a week but it is not bad to do some simple exercises like Isometric exercise or breathing exercise on our resting days.
It is always suggested to try different exercise regimes and overtraining should be avoided. Overtraining without taking rest leads to weight gain. It is also known as overtraining syndrome that leads to the rise in lactic acid in the body. Therefore taking breaks between the workouts is important to provide your body the chance to break down the excess lactic acid, she said.
Rest and recovery time between workouts help your body to adapt and recuperate from the previous workouts. When you exercise your body uses the stored energy, mainly carbohydrates, and fluids for producing sweat. Hence, your body gets time to refill these energy stores during rest and recovery time.
According to experts, it takes at least 24 hours for your body to fully replace the muscle’s store of carbohydrates, which is important for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.
It takes around one to two hours to replace the fluids lost as sweat during exercise.
Overtraining Without Rest Might Lead To Weight Gain
Dr. Jaswinder said, “Most women with obese often take overtraining in the hope to lose weight or get slimmer in a short time. But they probably don’t know that weight loss is a gradual process. Thus, too much exercise at high intensity without enough recovery time can harm the body in many surprising ways.”
While reports also say losing weight gradually and steadily (one to two pounds per week) can make you more successful at achieving lifelong weight maintenance.
Reduced metabolism due to hormonal imbalances and emotional state (depression, anxiety, stress, and fatigue) resulting from overtraining can lead to weight gain.
Therefore, too much exercise can increase stress, which in turn may cause a severe miscommunication between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. This may lead to negative physical effects such as fatigue, insomnia, gut issues, and weight gain.
Rest Days Are Important To Prevent Overtraining Syndrome
According to Dr. Kaur, “Muscle fatigue is a hindrance during exercise, as it causes muscle dysfunctions and hence, rest days are important to prevent them. The overtraining syndrome frequently occurs in athletes who often exercise longer and harder to prepare for the competition or event.”
She said, the athletes often land up to various health and psychological problems by over-exercising like:
· Decreased appetite
· Increased incidence of injuries
· Lack of energy, fatigue
· Mild leg soreness, general aches, and pains
· Moodiness and irritability
· Pain in muscles and joints
· Reduced training capacity/intensity
ALSO READ| Tips on physical activity promotion and exercise recommendations during Covid-19 for elderly population
A sudden drop in performance
Dr. Kaur says, “If athletes do not take adequate rest and recovery time, then such training regimens can backfire and decrease their performance. So, if you suspect that you are overtraining, stop the exercise and take a few days of rest”, she added.
A 2015 study on overtraining syndrome suggested that getting adequate rest is the primary treatment plan for this problem. In addition to that, proper nutrition and stress reduction are also necessary for recovery.