One of the most important, yet overlooked, parts of any exercise program is rest. During a workout, muscles are depleted of glycogen stores, or energy, and can become fatigued. Rest is essential to let muscles repair themselves and rebuild. While many view rest days as time off from activity, the body is actually very active, repairing itself and getting stronger. If an exercise routine does not have proper rest days, the body can become run down, tired or injured.
Exercise burnout, also known as overtraining, can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association recommend aiming for moderately intense cardio, 30 minutes a day, five days a week plus eight to 12 repetitions of eight to 10 strength-training exercises twice a week. Depending on how you combine your strength training and cardio, you should have one or two days off for rest. While you don't have to spend those two days on the couch, it is best to take it easy and let your body repair.
When the body is taxed repeatedly without proper rest and the chance to recover, muscles become fatigued and more prone to injury. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, without rest the body can suffer from chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle pains and aches, and even problems sleeping. The body also becomes exhausted and can become more susceptible to illness. Rest is crucial in order to keep muscles free from injury.
Skipping out on rest can lead to delayed results in training. Muscles may actually start to break down and become weaker from repeated strain. Muscle pain that lingers longer than it should is a key sign that the body is in need of rest. Another sign is strength loss. When an exercise you've been doing easily starts to become difficult or you find yourself unable to finish a workout, it may be time to look at your exercise routine and add in some proper rest.
Loss of Desire
Day after day of working out with no rest eventually starts to wear on a person both physically and mentally. While some activity is beneficial to all, too much activity can be extremely damaging. Consistent exercise without rest often leads to a loss in desire for physical activity. The body and mind can become so tired from being overtaxed that the desire that was once there to exercise simply vanishes.