Molly McNamee | Why you need to take rest days
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Why you need to take rest days

When you first start exercising you are told more is better. You need to work your muscles a lot to see changes. This is true, to change your body you have to work hard and stay committed. But, more isn't always better. Working out everyday isn't always the answer. In fact, rest is just as important as reps.

Not taking a rest day can lead to overtraining, which can have negative effects on gym performance, muscle growth, sleep schedule, the immune system, and more. All of these can lead to injury and illness, neither of which will help you reach your goals.

If you are constantly working out with no rest, your body never gets a chance to properly heal. Exercise damages muscle fibers. That sounds scary, but that is actually what is supposed to happen because, to put it simply, the muscles need to break down to be built up stronger. But you need that recovery time for the muscles to reconstruct into stronger formations and thus increase in size. Without the rest, you will constantly be breaking down the muscles and won't see the changes you are hoping for.

If you are working out everyday and wondering why your muscles aren't growing or your stomach isn't shrinking, it could very easily be because you need to rest. I am not saying you need to take every other day off from exercise. Don't do that. You still need to workout a significant amount to change your body, but you need to be smart about it. You may want to consider creating a workout schedule that allows you to work different muscles groups on different days.

Many people choose to split up the muscle groups they work each day so they can continue to train hard, but don't exhaust every muscle every day. This is an example of a possible workout split: legs on Monday, back and biceps on Tuesday, chest and triceps on Wednesday, abs and HIIT cardio on Thursday.

Even with this workout split you should still allow your body at least one full day of rest every week or two. This is so you don't get overworked. When your body is tired, you won't be able to perform at your best anyway. Allowing yourself to take those complete rest days will help you recharge so you feel ready to crush all of your upcoming workouts.

I mentioned before that skipping your rests days could have negative effects on your immune system. This is very important to remember. Exercise causes stress on the body. If your body is constantly under stress, your sleep schedule will be affected and your immune system will weaken. The lack of sleep and already weak immune system will inevitably result in illness.