Rest: The Body’s Repair System

Rest: The Body’s Repair System

Many mistakenly believe that more is always better. That is not the case when it comes to exercise. Arguably, the most important component of exercise is proper rest and recovery time between high-intensity workouts. 

2 types of muscle stresses happen during exercise: metabolic and mechanical. Metabolic stress comes from depleting energy stored in individual muscle cells while mechanical stress develops through physical damage to muscle protein structures. The body experiences both metabolic and mechanical stress during exercise and it is during the recovery phase after a work out that the body repairs muscle proteins and replaces glycogen used to fuel the activity.

You need sufficient time for natural service and maintenance, especially between challenging, high-intensity workouts. If you really want to go to the gym daily then mix harder workouts with lower-intensity ones. For example, have 2-3 high-intensity workouts, 2-3 medium-intensity workouts and 1-3 chilled out gym days.

Generally, 1-2 poor sleep nights won't hurt your performance, but getting inadequate sleep routinely will result in subtle changes in hormone levels. These can then impact stress, muscle recovery, and mood. Research indicates that sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), decreased hormone growth (which is needed for tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis, a vital energy source.

When it comes to work outs, less can be more. A day of rest gives your body time to repair damaged tissues from mechanical stress. Avoiding these days can lead to repetitive stress injuries or overtraining, which will put you out longer than a day!  A well-designed exercise program—one that will help you meet your goals—includes adequate rest to fully recover from the stresses of hard exercise.