One of the biggest misconceptions about fitness is the belief that more is better. Many people believe they can speed up the process of getting in shape if they work out for hours at a time every day of the week. This “overkill” approach usually has the opposite effect, erasing the enthusiasm that they had headed into the gym on day one.

Rest days are good for both the body and mind. Training every day eventually starts to wear your body down. Even if you plan out your training program so you’re working different muscle groups each day, your body needs a rest day every so often. Exercise places a strain on the nervous system. It’s a form of stress, so taking a full day of rest several times a week is what the body needs to recuperate and grow.

The mind also needs a break from the intense stress of physical activity. You should always be excited about going to work out. Of course, we all have days when our enthusiasm isn’t always there. But when that attitude persists for several days in a row, you may need a couple days off to rest up and get it together.

The joints, tendons and ligaments of the body also need recuperation. Resistance training tends to put stress on these connective tissues so you have to be careful on how often and how heavy you train. Cardiovascular training can also be stressful on tendons and joints. Many runners who engage in long distance running every day eventually have ligament and tendon issues from insufficient recovery.

When you’re planning out your weekly training program, schedule one or two of rest days into your week. Space out your weight training and cardio workouts and don’t feel guilty about relaxing several days a week. Your body will thank you for it!

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