What happens to your body on a rest day?

We should all know the importance of rest days if we exercise regularly, and knowing the facts may help us incorporate more rest into our exercise schedule. So what happens?

# Alleviates muscle pain and soreness by removing excess lactate from the muscle. Lactate is a by-product to muscles working, and excess amounts can make us feel sore.

# Repairing and building muscles. Tiny little cells called fibroblasts repair the microtears in our muscles created through exercise so we become more exercise efficient.

# Replenishes energy stores. Exercise uses energy (glucose), and when it needs more it draws on the stored form, glycogen. When energy stores are depleted, you feel exhausted and lethargic. Rest allows these energy stores to build back up so you are ready for the next workout.

# Prevents injury. If your muscles are allowed to heal, they will be stronger, more elastic, and less likely to strain.

# Lets your mind take a break. Continuous bouts of exercise with insufficient rest stresses a lot of your body systems, which can have profound effects on mood, energy, and sleep.

On average, a rest day should be implemented every 7-10 days, or as and when needed to allow the mind and body to recover. Rest days don't have to be inactive, it can involve going for a walk, or practice some yoga.

Fletcher, J. and Bubnis, D. (2021). When and how to spend a rest day. Medical News Today.