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Working out is a vital part in staying healthy for everyday living. Whether you lift weights at the gym or simply walk around the block, exercise can help prevent injury and create a healthier body. However, there is such thing as overtraining – a phenomenon that occurs when one exercises too much and does not give their body enough time to recover and repair itself for the next exercise. When you do not let your body rest as much as you should, you can end up injuring yourself more easily. People can train properly or improperly, but they often forget about the recovery time from their workouts.

Rest Days

Working out adds physical stress to your body – which creates improvements. However, the changes in your body need time to repair themselves in order to gain the most improvement. When lifting weights or doing body weight exercises like squats, lunges, or pushups, you are damaging your muscles so that you can build them again and grow stronger. But because you are damaging muscle during these types of workouts, your body needs time to recover. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a rest day must occur at least one to two times per week. These rest days are a key part of any exercise program, and vital for positive results and a reduction in injury risk.

Rest Periods

Additionally, a rest in-between specific workout days is not the only rest needed. During workouts, rest in-between different sets of exercise is also needed in order to give your muscles time to briefly recover before being used again for the next set. This type of rest is needed because your muscles use specific types of energy sources within the body that only allow for so much energy to be used at a given time, before requiring rest to replenish the energy store. When performing weight lifting or even body weight exercises, the best type of recovery is called passive recovery. It simply means that you do not use the muscles that you just used during the exercise at all, in order for the energy to be restored. On the other hand, for cardiovascular exercise such as running or swimming, an active recovery also known as “cooling down” is essential. This required that you are still perform the exercise, but at a much lesser intensity in order to get your body closer to a normal state before stopping. These types of recovery are very useful for getting your body to perform at its highest level during exercise and in order to let your body recover faster so that you can exercise again sooner.


The most important part of rest and recovery, not only for exercise but for everyday life as well, is sleep. Your body needs 7-9 hours of sleep in order for all of the chemical, hormone and anti-inflammatory responses to happen at their peak level. When lifting weights, sleep is critical in the use of protein to build and repair the damaged muscles. Sleep is also very important in keeping your immune system at a high level in order to fight off sickness.

All of these recovery and rest techniques are extremely significant when exercising in order to keep your body healthy and ready to exercise again. So make sure to rest and recover!

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