This content is brought to you in partnership with OrthoCarolina, one of the nation's leading orthopedic practices with offices across the Southeast. 

One of our most popular blog posts of all time is from January 2018: Do You Actually Need to Take a Rest Day? We Asked An Expert.

Back then, we spoke with Debra Myhr (a PT, DPT, MOTR, and ATC at OrthoCarolina) to ask her all of our questions about rest days and whether they matter when it comes to crushing our fitness goals.

But one thing we didn't get a clear answer on when we wrote that initial blog post? The most impactful ways to spend your rest day! So, we reached back out to OrthoCarolina to get advice from physical therapist assistant Jessica Sabourin.

 

1. Prepare & Plan

"Being able to plan on rest days is huge when you’re talking about going after a fitness goal. Assessing what went right, what went wrong, and what could have gone better will help those long term goals," Sabourin said. 

Sabourin explained that she likes to use her planner and physically write out her fitness routine/running plan for each day and what she would like to achieve by the end of the week or during each session.

"You can’t achieve a goal if you don’t assess where you’re at along the way," she added. "Success doesn’t happen by accident!"

 

2. Rest & Reset

Shocker: you might want to spend your rest day actually resting!

"Resting has both mental and physical benefits. Having a day or two to mentally take a break from being 'hardcore' all week — where my type A personalities at? — really allows you to shift your focus so that you don’t burn out," Sabourin said.

On the flip side of this, Sabourin said, a rest day is also an opportunity to reset your mind.

"It’s possible that the last week of working out or training for a race has caused some psychological stress," she said. "Taking a day to meditate, or get your mind off grinding away at a goal can be highly therapeutic."

 

3. Do Something Creative

Did you know that studies show that creating art helps to reduce cortisol levels?

"We know that exercise and physical activity causes stress (necessary and important, but stress nonetheless!) and being able to take it down a notch will help with overall decreased stress on the body," Sabourin said. 

She cited a quote from a recent study done in 2016 that stated, “Results indicate that a brief experience of art-making produced physiological changes in most participants, indicating that art-making can lower cortisol levels regardless of prior experience with art, media type, or demographics.”

So, consider getting out the water colors, doing some knitting, or engaging in some other creative activities to get those stress levels down before you get back to the grind!

 

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.