Getting enough exercise as often as possible is vital not just for building muscle, but for maintaining muscle mass in the long-term. Without exercise, our muscles weaken, and it’s much easier to get rid of the excess calories that we consume, which means that fat starts to accumulate around the body.

And while there’s always a lot of emphasis on exercise, there tends to be less of a focus on resting. Taking rest days is just as important as the exercise itself, as without rest, building muscle becomes almost impossible. Here we will outline some of the reasons that rest days are worth integrating into an exercise regime.

Repairs Torn Muscles

When we lift weights at the gym, for example, our muscles are put under extreme tensions, forcing them to stretch beyond their limits, and it can even cause some damage. This is a simplified version of how muscle is grown, but without the necessary time for those muscles to repair the damage, they won’t properly grow larger. Rest days give muscle the time it needs to fix all of the stretching and damage that it undergoes, which is done by specialised cells that are known as fibroblasts.

Glycogen Levels

Carbohydrates provide the fuel that we need to move around and exercise, meaning that when we engage in moderate and high-intensity exercise, we have to dip into our carbohydrate reserves to keep everything going. Specifically, glycogen is the chemical that’s created from carbohydrates, and it doesn’t take more than a few days of working it out for stores of glycogen to be exhausted.

Two rest days, such as on the weekend, is usually enough to give the body the time that it needs to be able to restore glycogen levels for further exercising. Pair this with a good diet that consists of a healthy source of carbohydrates, and an exerciser should never be feeling too tired or sluggish at the gym or when taking a run.

Removal Of By-products

Another reason that muscles might be feeling tired after a few days of exercise is due to the fact that the by-products they produce from working out have not been properly removed. Even a single day or rest is enough to allow the circulatory system to cycle out these by-products, while at the same time providing the muscle with the adequate amounts of nutrients and oxygen that they need to repair and further exercise.

Mental Break

There’s always a lot of focus on the physical side of things but exercising constantly can also have an impact on our mental faculties, making it harder to work, socialise or play the latest on The concentration needed and the will to push through a difficult workout can all take a toll on us, so taking a few days off to rest is a great way of also enjoying a small mental break so we can get back to having the confidence and focus needed to jump back into the gym and carry on enjoying our favourite exercise regimes.