Rest days are critical. For many, they are also boring. When it comes to a rest day however, there are better ways than others to go about it. Many people assume that a rest day is a day to simply do nothing. In actuality, the purpose of taking a day off from working out is giving the muscles time to heal and recover from, well, working out. You should welcome the opportunity to do other stuff that could actually benefit the muscles in this process.
A “perfect” rest day would consist of doing stuff that helps expedite the rest and recovery process. The following are a few things you could do to make your next rest day “perfect”:
This is a no-brainer for a lot of people but one that is easily overlook and sometimes under appreciated. Massages are amazing for alleviating muscle soreness, promoting better circulation, and also releasing free radicals from the muscle tissue which can stifle muscle growth. Getting a good, deep tissue massage on your next rest day could be something your body has needed for quite a while.
Cryotherapy is used for faster recovery time after a strenuous workout and activity. Most people know that the go to for sore muscles and reduction of swelling from an injury is ice, so by submerging the body in ice (one of the forms of cryotherapy) for 10-20 minutes and stepping back out, the core temperature begins to rise back up, blood circulation is increased tremendously which contributes to soreness relief and recovery.
- Active Rest
Active rest is somewhat of an oxymoron, but it holds much merit. Instead of doing nothing on a rest day, find an activity that is far less intense than your regular workout. Activities could include a light swim in a pool, a brisk walk, or even some stretching. This just keeps the body moving and functional, while burning calories in the process.
- Specific Foods
Rest days can lead to confusion on how people should eat. It would be safe to say to not change a thing from how you eat on training days, but your looking for the perfect rest day, right? You will not need as many calories, specifically carbs, on days you are not working out. So stay away from the carb dense foods such as breads and pasta and focus more so on protein dense foods such as beans, legumes, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and yogurt.