If you are truly a fitness addict like myself, you might find taking a rest day almost impossible. But, with that said, it is crucial to take a rest day every now and then, especially if you want to perform your best when competing. As tempting as it may be to train hard everyday of the week (for me, that means logging five plus miles a day), it is important to take a recovery day at least once a week. Here's why: as you put your body through a strenuous workout (whether it be running 10 miles or bench pressing in the weight room), microscopic tears start to develop in the muscles that are undergoing stress. A rest day is needed to make sure those muscles heal properly. The great news is that once the muscles self-repair, over time, you will become stronger and more fit than before.
Keep in mind that a rest day does not mean you have to sit on the couch in front of the TV all day long. You can take what many fitness experts call an "active rest day." By that, I mean doing something that keeps you moving but doesn't necessarily constitute as a traditional workout. Some of my favorite ways to spend an active rest day include:
~ Working in the garden
~ Taking my pup, Chester, for a walk in the park with my husband
~ Bowling with family
~ Walking into town to window-shop
~ Light stretching to music
~ An easy swim in the pool
Taking an active rest day will speed up recovery of those overworked muscles and will help you feel less stiff and sore. An active rest day will also help you stay mentally focused and committed to achieving your fitness goals.