The Importance of Rest Days

The Importance of rest days

Working out and staying active is an amazing habit to have, however, if you tend to ‘over do it’ every workout, this could hinder your fitness results, contribute towards overtraining, or lead to a potential injury. To avoid this, try your best to keep your body and mind balanced by nourishing with good foods, training hard and varying your workouts, and taking care of your well-being.


Resting is just as important as working out. It’s a part of the total process required to build strength, endurance, and muscle. Rest days allow your muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild.

When movements or activities that are typically easy start to feel difficult or you feel tired and your body starts to ache, it may be a sign of overtraining and a good idea to take a rest. This could be an active rest day or a complete day off to give your muscles a solid recovery break.


Burning calories, strength training, counting daily steps - these are all important factors that equate to living an active lifestyle. However, the importance of ‘rest' and why your body needs days off from training is often underestimated. Taking a rest day and limiting strenuous activity allows your body to fully recharge so that you are ready for those challenging workout days.

Here are a few simple reasons why getting rest is so important.
  1. Rest prevents injury:
    Rest days prevent overuse. If you continuously push your body too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and this is where injuries occur.

  2. Your muscles need a break:
    When you exercise, essentially you are tearing down muscle fibers that ultimately need a proper rest period for your immune system to repair the tissues. This is when you benefit from your hard work.

  3. NOT taking rest may set you back:
    It takes your body approximately 2 weeks of non-activity before losing performance progress. So don’t think that taking a day or two off will set you back from your fitness accomplishments. It’s quite the opposite - if you don’t give your body a recovery day, you could be asking for potential overuse injuries or hit a plateau.

  4. Overtraining affects getting your Z’s:
    Too much exercise can put your body into a constant state of restlessness, making a good night’s sleep hard to achieve. A sign of overtraining is an elevated resting heart rate. Taking rest days can help reduce your heart rate and allow your body to relax, rest, and rejuvenate.

  5. Immune system on overload:
    Heavy activity keeps our immune system continuously running to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your body can’t catch up to all the necessary repairs you may need and… it could lead to potential injuries!

  6. Prevents burnout:
    Taking a rest period not only prevents your body from overtraining mode, but it will help keep you inspired for the next workout session!

  7. Sharpen your mental edge:
    Mental rest in additional to physical rest is important! It allows your body to recharge, refocus, and think clearly.


Rest days help produce the results.

If there’s a single piece of training advice I could share (for now anyways… but stay tuned for game changing training tips in another blog post …), it is to honor your body and take rest for muscle recovery so that your body adapts, replenishes, and reaps the benefits of your hard work.

Back in the day when I first began working out, I thought resting was only for when you slept or when you were sick! It was a different mentality that you had to work hard all the time to get results and if you weren’t sore, then you didn't work hard enough.

This is SO NOT true!!! It’s quite the opposite. After many years of hard core training, I had to learn the hard way from overtraining training and developing nagging injuries. Luckily today, there’s easy access to great research on muscle recovery and it’s become an important part of a balanced training program.


A rest day doesn’t mean doing nothing. Active resting refers to performing an activity that allows your body to rest by doing less intense movement at leisure. Listed are a few activities that will keep you moving and having fun at the same time.

• Power walking
• Leisure biking
• Hiking
• Swimming
• Roller blading
• Stretching / foam rolling
• Yoga
• Light stretching
• Meditating
• Steam, sauna, soak
• Of course, you can always take a full day off


• Hydrate
• Fuel with clean foods
• Regroup and plan your next movement sessions

So make the most of your rest days by engaging in some form of active recovery.


Listed below is a series of ‘go to’ simple stretches I gravitate to when my muscles need elongated. These stretched actively move through a desired range of motion to facilitate range of motion, circulation, and reduce muscular soreness.

1. Overhead Stretch & Forward Fold
• Stand with feet wider than hips distance apart with knees slightly bent.
• Reach arms overhead & interlock fingers.
• Arch backwards to open chest, then fold forward to stretch the spine.

2. Side to Side Lunges
• Legs are in a wide stance with both feet and knees kept parallel.
• Begin to dynamically lunge from side to side to stretch the inner and outer thighs.

3. Runners Lunge
• Lunge one leg forward and the other behind with the feet and knees all in the same direction.
• dynamically move forward & back in the lunge
+ lean away from the bent knee
+ circle the arm for shoulder mobility
+ This is a great stretch to incorporate on your Total Gym utilizing the glide board.

Video of stretches on your equipment:

4. Dynamic Hamstring
• dynamically move forward & back to feel the hamstring and calf stretch

5. Standing Inner Thigh Stretch
• rotate torso into the bent knee
• This is a great stretch to incorporate on your Total Gym by utilizing the glide board.

Video of other lower body stretches on your equipment:


Utilize a foam roller for muscle recovery and injury prevention. It’s an excellent way to facilitate increased circulation, reduce muscle soreness and tension, and move the skin to help your muscles recovery as well as feel lighter.

• Shins
• Quads
• Inner Thighs
• Outer Thighs
• Hips
• Glutes
• Hamstrings
• Lower Back

*Perform these exercises with a traditional roller or on your Total Gym with the Foam Roller Attachment.

Refer to this link for Foam Roller attachment exercises:

Be sure to check out the video to see learn how to incorporate these stretches into your rest days.

The stretches are demonstrated OFF of your Total Gym to learn and take with you anywhere! However, these movements can also be performed ON your Total Gym for a post workout stretch.

Having a consistent fitness or sport regimen is amazing, but pay attention to how your body feels and honor yourself by taking a deserved day off or enjoy an active rest day.

Best Always,

Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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