Why You Need Rest And Recovery After Exercise [The Ultimate Guide]

Everyone knows the benefits of exercise, but what about taking the time to rest and recover after you’ve exercised? What is the benefit of taking a break and is continuing to exercise a bad idea?

In this article, we will look at why you need rest and recovery after exercise.

What Is The Best Way To Rest And Recover?

Although it’s tempting to exercise every day, especially when you start a new routine and feel enthusiastic, this is not going to benefit you in the long run.

If you follow any kind of exercise program or work with a fitness trainer, you will find that there are rest days fitted into the schedule.

Even professional athletes take rest days to allow themselves to recover.

If you’re planning your own exercise program at home, make sure that you take rest days.

You should make space for at least one rest day every seven to ten days.

What Are The Benefits Of Rest And Recovery?

Let’s look at some of the reasons why rest and recovery can benefit your exercise plan.

Promotes Muscle Recovery

When you exercise, you deplete the energy stored in your body.

Muscles store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen; when you exercise, this glycogen is broken down to fuel your workout.

By giving your body time to rest, you allow it to replenish these glycogen stores ready for the next time you work out. 

Exercise also causes microscopic tears to form in the tissues of your muscles.

This is a natural process of exercising but you need to allow your muscles to repair themselves.

This occurs during rest periods when cells called fibroblasts can repair the tears.

This process of tearing muscles and then repairing them is what allows your muscles to grow and become stronger.

If you don’t let your muscles repair and replenish their stores, it will lead to poorer performance and increase the risk of injury.

Prevents Muscle Fatigue And Overtraining

Muscles are needed for exercise but they’re also used in everyday life and activities.

If you deplete the glycogen stored in your muscles and don’t give your muscles enough time to replenish the glycogen, it won’t just affect your workouts but can also affect you when you’re not exercising, too. 

You will feel muscle fatigue and soreness even during normal activities such as walking.

Overtraining is also a problem for many who exercise too much without allowing time for rest and recovery.

If you push your body too hard your body can fall into overtraining syndrome and this has a variety of symptoms such as an increase in body fat, insomnia, worsening moods, and an increased risk of dehydration.

Reduces The Risk Of Injury

If you train too much without allowing your body enough time to rest, you will increase the risk of becoming injured.

This is because an overworked body is more likely to make a mistake when exercising, such as dropping a weight, taking a wrong step, or holding a poor form. 

If you don’t allow your body to rest, you also run the risk of straining a muscle through repetition of movement.

Constantly doing the same movements over and over can cause stress and strain on muscles that would otherwise be healthy and might result in you needing to take several days off to recover.

Improves Performance

Repetition and routine are the keys to becoming better at any exercise or dropping weight, but you won’t improve your performance if you don’t allow yourself to rest.

You might find it difficult to complete regular exercise routines if you don’t take a rest as your body and mind will be too tired.

It’s also less likely that you’ll be able to motivate yourself to do a little extra.

Instead, muscle fatigue will make completing exercise sessions a chore and even if you force yourself, you might find that you lift less, run slower, and react slower, too.

Rest, on the other hand, will increase your energy, reduce fatigue, and allow you to steadily improve your performance.

Promotes Relaxation And Sleep

Instead of exercising every single day, take a rest day to relax and dedicate the time to something else.

Let your body recover while you see family and friends or enjoy a different hobby.

Exercise needs not just a healthy body but a healthy mind as well and you need to balance your life so that home, work, family, and fitness are all looked after. 

It’s well known that exercise can help people sleep. This is because physical activity and exercise tire the body ready for sleep.

However, exercise also produces energy-boosting hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and if you train too much, you will get an excess of these hormones.

This will make it more difficult for you to relax and sleep.

Giving yourself time to rest and recover will bring the level of these hormones back to a more normal and balanced level and will help you sleep better.

What Are The Signs That I Need More Rest And Recovery After Exercise?

What Are The Signs That I Need More Rest And Recovery?

If you’re wondering whether you need to rest more between your exercise sessions, there are some signs to look out for.

Sore Muscles

It’s not unusual to feel soreness in your muscles after a workout and this alone isn’t a sign that you need to rest more.

However, if the soreness persists and lasts longer than normal, then it can be a sign that your muscles aren’t being given enough time to recover from your past workouts.


If your muscles have moved past being sore to being painful, then this is a sign that you should take a break.

Pains in your muscles or joints can be indicative of an injury or overuse and you should rest. If the pain doesn’t get better, you may have to see your doctor.


Exercise should leave you feeling energized but if you’re feeling more fatigued, this can be a sign that you’re exercising too much.

This is especially the case if you’re feeling extreme exhaustion and find it difficult to complete your regular daily activities. 

Sleeping Issues

As we explained earlier, too much exercise will lead to your body producing too many energy-boosting hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.

This can make it difficult to sleep and any sleep you do get is likely to be of poorer quality.

Emotional Changes

Similar to sleeping issues, too much exercise can also result in poor moods.

This is again linked to an imbalance of hormones in the body and causes an increase in irritability and crankiness as well as mood swings.

Poor Performance

This applies to both your exercise routines and everyday activities.

If you find that regular aspects of your daily life feel difficult or you stop seeing any progress in your exercise, you should give yourself time to rest and recover.

Final Thoughts

Giving yourself time to rest and recover after exercise in the form of rest days is vital for many reasons.

Rest can help your body repair itself after exercise and will allow you to perform better.

Rest reduces the risk of injury, can help you sleep better, and improve your mood.