Rest is an essential part of any training program. Even the most elite of athletes need rest. Rest allows your body to recover properly. In fact, rest is where muscle is built. Contrary to popular belief, muscle is not built during the workout, but afterwards. During the workout, your muscle fibers are torn (literally). When you rest and refuel, your muscles repair the tears to grow and strengthen. That's why fueling and resting are so important for growing muscles!
Rest doesn't look the same for everyone though, so what "counts" as rest?
And, no, it's not an *easy* 4 mile run.
There are two types of rest: active rest and passive rest.
Active rest can look like:
- Light walking
- Light stretching
- Foam rolling
- Walking the dog
- Doing chores
Active rest days can be helpful if getting non-exercise movement in most days is challenging, your muscles are sore, or your training performance is decreasing. Low intensity movement can help keep your mobile and ready to go for your next training day.
Passive rest can look like:
- Reading a book
- Watching tv
- Listening to a podcast
- Playing games
- Hangin' with your doggo
Passive rest days can be helpful for a mental break. Sometimes it's nice to not have to do anything. One thing to note is that not moving your body can actually stiffen muscles more than loosen them up.
There's a happy medium between active and passive rest days. I encourage most rest days to be at least somewhat active to keep you feeling mobile, but passive rest days certainly have a place in your program too.