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Test the Trainers: Do We Need Rest Days?

Leg day, arm day, ab day … the list goes on, but what about rest day? You might be surprised that rest days should be included in your regular workout routine. And while rest days might sound counterintuitive to working out, they’re actually an essential part of staying healthy. We asked a sampling of OhioHealth exercise physiologists all about why we need them and when to take them.

Why are rest days important?

“Rest days are vitally important to allow our bodies to repair and recover, which is required if we want to build strength, endurance, and muscle. Resistance training creates small microtears, and recovery allows those microtears to repair and grow in recovery.”
– Amy Kleski, Wellness Center Membership Manager, McConnell Heart Health Center

“Your body needs sufficient time to repair and refuel, especially between high-intensity workouts. Taking a rest day will prevent burn out or overtraining and allow you to keep performing better.”
– Sarah Bedell, Exercise Physiologist, Easton Fitness Center

“The body needs time to recover after moderate to vigorous exercise to replenish and rebuild. Important adaptations occur during rest. Neglecting rest can cause excessive breakdown of tissues and systems leading to overtraining.”
– Amanda Reynolds, Exercise Physiologist, Blom Administrative Campus

“Rest days allow the body to more fully recover from the stresses of our workouts, for tissue repair and refueling. Especially for more serious athletes, rest days are also beneficial for mental recovery.”
– George Roulett, Aquatic Programmer, McConnell Heart Health Center

“Rest days allow your body time to heal, recover and get stronger. They also give you a mental break from exercise. I find rest days at times hard to take but make my time when I am exercising more motivating and enjoyable.”
– Erica Cook, Wellness Coordinator and Exercise Physiologist, OhioHealth Employer Services and McConnell Heart Health Center


How can you make the most of rest days?

The number of rest days you should take per week varies depending on a few things, such as age, goals, workout intensity, fitness level, and more. Our exercise physiologists recommend that you take at least one rest day per week – but it’s not all rest. On your days off, you should still aim to get some light activity in, like walking or stretching.

It can be hard to take a day off sometimes, but if you notice any of these symptoms of overworking yourself from exercise, it’s time for a rest day:

  • Excessive and/or persistent muscular soreness
  • Constant fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Increased irritability or anxiety
  • Performance plateau or decline
  • Injury

Want to know more tips and tricks from our exercise physiologists? Check them out here!


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