In this generation of go-getters and the idea of being “productive”, so many of us are working long hours and risking burnout just to keep up with the never-ending professional, family and social commitments. With this pace that we are going, the importance of rest is easily forgotten.
But rest isn’t something to take lightly! It’s an essential part of doing your best during your waking hours — being more productive at work, being present at home and especially performing better during your training. That’s why, rest is something we all need to prioritise, both in and out of the gym!
Speaking to a few KOA members, Suki shared that she was worried about her work piling up while she’s away. And in another account, Mary said she felt uneasy if she doesn’t workout every day. Craving the adrenalin rush, she is either cycling, hiking or running when she’s not training at the gym. But the truth is… she needs rest.
Now don’t get me wrong, rest isn’t about being lazy or avoiding work. It is necessary for our health and to keep us at our best when we are working either at the office or gym.
Here are some of the benefits of some R&R – rest and relaxation. Be it whether you’re on the beach soaking up the sun or at home soaking in the bathtub!
1. Keep the doctors away
Rest days help your body repair and strengthen your immune system, so that you’re less likely to get sick.
After all, nothing gets in the way of productivity faster than being unwell and battling headaches through the workday. Even worse, that could result in having to take the day off because you’re too weak to get off the bed.
And when it comes to the gym, rest days help to reduce your risk of injuries.
Training causes micro-damage to our body tissues. Without adequate rest and recovery between training sessions, the body begins to break down.
So if you schedule regular rest days into your training, you reduce the risk of suffering from overuse injuries.
2. Catch a good night’s sleep
We’ve heard this countless times but we often push it away. We then start questioning why and seek help when we can’t sleep at night.
The answer is clear – if you’re not taking adequate rest days, your mind is constantly “working” which adds more stress to the body. And that is why, you won’t be able to sleep soundly, or worst, you are wide awake all through the night.
So be sure to combine regular rest days with good sleep habits! Such as keeping electronics out of bed, choosing a comfortable mattress, or lighting candles.
This indeed will improve your chances of staying well rested and functioning at your best the next day.
I’ve always stressed the importance of sleep and how it affects your training the next day. Because I can bet 100% you won’t be able to maximise your training session.
3. No mind games
Too much time working or studying can fatigue your brain the same way too much workout can fatigue your body.
When mental stress collides with physical stress, this reduces your ability to concentrate, and you (or at least the people around you) will find yourself always in a bad mood and ultimately put a damper on your emotional capacity.
In contrast, regularly taking short breaks and combining them with a weekly rest day will allow your brain to “untangle the mess” so that you’re able to think straight!
Have you ever lost count of your reps or sets? Or had to take 5 seconds to decipher which side when your coach said “left arm”? If you’re not getting enough rest, your mind-muscle coordination will be disrupted.
4. Do more in less time
Have you noticed that people who take time offs regularly actually work more efficiently whenever they are back to the grindstone?
Whether at work or in the gym, pushing yourself harder, clocking in longer hours, and skipping rest days significantly reduces productivity in both the short and long term.
Because the accumulated stress adds up and you’ll tend to be taking more breaks to “catch your breath” at work or in the gym.
5. Get fitter
I can instantly FEEL all those raised eyebrows. I know while this may seem counterintuitive, but –
Gaining lean muscle mass can actually happen when you rest, not while you’re training.
To reiterate my point #1,
Training causes micro-damage to muscle fibres, which are then repaired post-workout. Your body needs to recover in order to allow muscle restructuring to take place for that toner, leaner look.
This is also true out of the gym context. When you haven’t gotten enough rest and are running on low energy, you’ll automatically reach for a bag of potato chips, extra serving of ice cream or other comfort foods.
Rest debt is very much like credit card debt. If you keep accumulating your credit on the card, you can expect to pay high interest rates. OR! The bank will hold your account and you can’t use the credit card until you pay it all off. If you accumulate too much rest-debt, ultimately your body will either breakdown or shut down.
There is no free lunch in this world. We do pay a price for staying up late or not getting enough time off to rest and relax.
It’s time to sign off, and take a rest.