The Rules of Resting


January is the time when motivation to start a healthy workout and weight loss program is highest.  Gyms are packed and diet books fly off the shelves.  By the end of the month, many people fail to continue their program because they are over working themselves. Instead of making a lifestyle change, they made dramatic changes by cutting out entire food groups and going to the gym everyday!  They don’t allow their body to rest resulting in over-training, which can lead to serious health complications.

Our society tends to believe that more is better and that results happen while action is taking place.  In actuality, your muscles become stronger when you’re NOT working out. Rest allows your body to replenish energy and repair tissue damaged during exercise.

It’s recommended that you schedule at least 1-2 rest days during the week to prevent symptoms of overtraining.  Some of the more serious health consequences that result from lack of rest include, heart muscle damage, thyroid dysfunction, brittle bones, depression and increased susceptibility to injuries.

Here are some other reasons to consider scheduling rest days into your work out program:

  • Your muscles grow when you rest. Stimulating your muscles during exercise creates tiny tears and resting gives your muscles time to repair making them stronger than before.
  • Too much exercise can cause your weight to plateau or even increase. Extreme exercise increases cortisol levels in the body.  Without rest, excess levels of cortisol encourage fat gain, specifically around the abdomen.
  • Overtraining can disrupt your menstrual cycle. Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation, often brought on by excessive exercise.  The result is a drop in estrogen leading to bone loss.
  • Lack of rest can leave you feeling exhausted. Not only does exhaustion affect your thinking and energy levels, it also disrupts your sleeping patterns. You may find you are unable to sleep or toss and turn throughout the night even when you are very tired.
  • Your free-time is limited. Lengthy workouts everyday take up time that could be dedicated to family and friends.  Quality of life is important and making time for fun is important.

Yes, exercise is important, but like most things, it’s best in moderation. Rest is crucial for your body to recover and become stronger.  Finding the right balance between exercise and rest will leave you feeling stronger, more energized and ultimately healthier!



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