5 Healthy, Expert-Approved Ways to Spend Your Rest Day
May 21, 2019
This content is brought to you in partnership with OrthoCarolina, one of the nation's leading orthopedic practices with offices across the Southeast.
While you may assume that working out once a day is the best thing for your health, we spoke with the experts at OrthoCarolina to determine that yes, you actually do need to take a rest day.
Debra Myhr (a PT, DPT, MOTR, and ATC at OrthoCarolina) explained to us that depending on your fitness level and the goals you've set for your fitness journey, you should only be working out 5-6 days per week.
But what should you be doing with your 1-2 rest days per week? What are the healthiest ways to spend that time to set yourself up for success? Myrh gave us the inside scoop.
To be clear: the WORST thing you can do on your rest day is absolutely nothing. You want to aim for light, gentle movements.
"Avoid strenuous activities which would put more stress on the body," said Myhr. "Rest days can consist of normal activities such as walking, light cardio, etc. since they do not stress the muscles that need the most rest. These activities also help lactic acid to move out of the muscles."
We've talked before about how you're supposed to stretch before and after you work out on your active days — but Myhr and her colleagues at OrthoCarolina know that people often forget to do so.
"Stretching is a great exercise option for rest days, because most people forget to do that throughout the week during their normal workout routine," said Myhr.
Consider a restorative yoga class to aid recovery on your rest day. Or if you're not a yogi, you can just aim to stretch each muscle group throughout your body.
3. Foam Rolling
Foam rolling can help relieve muscle tightness, particularly the day after a tough workout. Areas like the IT band, hamstrings, quads, and upper back muscles can benefit from foam rolling, as the practice can bring blood flow to these areas and loosen up muscles. For more details on foam rolling (and specifically, foam rolling safety), click here.
4. Meal Prep
"Rest days are great days to meal prep and to plan your meals for the week, in order to have proper nutrition for your health and fitness goals," Myhr said.
Instead of spending your usual 30-60 minutes exercising on your rest day(s), spend that time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals and snacks for yourself for the week! Here's a quick list of simple meal prep tips for a healthier week.
Myhr also mentioned the importance of making time to sleep on your rest day. ""Sleep is an important aspect of recovery because it allows the body time to repair and heal in a non-stressed environment," she explained.
But how much sleep do you actually need to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Don't worry, we asked the experts at OrthoCarolina that question, too — click here for the answers.
Learn More About Making Healthy Choices From the Experts at OrthoCarolina
Whether you've recently experienced an injury, need help with recovery after tough workouts, or are simply experiencing chronic pain and need help managing it, OrthoCarolina can help. Make an appointment at a location near you to start getting the treatment you need.