I know you train hard, I’ve taught you well. But what are you doing on your rest days? There is a common misconception that we can smash ourselves in the gym, only to laze around the next day to ‘recover’. This may apply to athletes who lift serious volume or at a high intensity. However for you and me, a lazy day is, well, just lazy.
Let’s start with the adverse health effects associated with inactivity. Days without any form of physical activity slow your metabolism and your brain will produce fewer endorphins. The Australian government recommends daily activity to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and depression to name a few.
"...if your goal is to lose weight or increase energy levels, you will need to keep moving on the days in between."
So what should you be doing on your rest days? Low intensity exercise such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, tennis or golf. Steady-state aerobic exercise will help to flush out the lactic acid buildup from yesterday’s epic workout, enhance your mood, give you more energy and speed up your muscle recovery. Low impact cardio such as swimming and cycling will help improve joint mobility while yoga may help release anything that has become tight.
Now I’m not advocating daily deadlifts. Three targeted resistance-training sessions per week is sufficient to build strength. However, if your goal is to lose weight or increase energy levels, you will need to keep moving on the days in between.