Should You Work Out Every Day?
How Many Rest Days Should You Take?
How many days a week you should train depends on a range of factors. Before we start examining these various factors that affect your ability to recuperate, it needs to be stressed that sport science has now conclusively proven that the muscles require an average of 48 hours to fully recover from exercise.
The sets and reps you train are just as important as the rest you get. Whether you take a day's rest every second day or just once a week makes a very important difference to getting results, depending on your own specific recuperation ability. Overtraining will cause a range of problems that include; elevated blood pressure, disturbed sleeping patterns, decreased immunity, decreased performance and many others.
Research in sports science shows that DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) peaks after two days (48 hours) post-exercise. They concluded that a minimum rest period of 48 hours' rest is optimal for full recovery and to prevent injury, in competitive athletes tested.
The problem is that the stipulation of 48 hours' rest from attacking a muscle group before hitting it again needs to be more specific to your own needs, objective, age, experience, daily nutrition, workout intensity etc. The important issues of how long you train, how often and diet need to play an important part in keeping overtraining symptoms at bay.
A study was done by sports science which found that low-intensity exercise as part of post-workout exercise, like walking or swimming laps can increase your muscle relaxation and improving your rate of recovery. The same research clearly demonstrates that your muscles are still able to work at full capacity while recovering.
This is important because recovery or rest does not mean sleeping or watching TV on the couch. Rest Day activities can include a range of options, from light jogging, to Yoga, Pilates, or swimming can all be considered good "rest day" activities, which would obviously depend on your own fitness level.
In conclusion there is one last aspect that can help speed up recovery, but it needs to be noted that the results you get from speeding up of recovery by doing static stretching, massage therapy, ice packs or even heat packs will depend on the extent or the amount of damage that needs to be repaired.
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