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Rest is a core component of a balanced life and fitness routine. Giving your body time to recover between exercises, after a workout or through extended periods, will help it replenish energy and recover from strain. According to Harvard Medical School, additional benefits of rest include increased concentration, memory function and overall mood.
Rest During Exercise
An exercise routine will eventually deplete you physically and fatigue your muscles. Lactic acid typically builds up and creates a burning sensation when you lift a weight to complete failure. Resting 30 to 90 seconds between sets will allow you to work out longer at the desired level. Tailor your breaks to the goals of the workout, such as resting longer if you're developing strength and taking less frequent stops if you're working on endurance. By building these short breaks into your routine, you avoid cheating yourself out of a good workout.
Rest After Exercise
Post-exercise rest can include stretching, taking a shower, using a sauna, performing a cooldown routine, receiving a massage, icing sore muscles or simply relaxing. This period is also ideal to ensure your body is properly hydrated, including drinking water or nutritionally-supplemented fluids. Eat protein-based foods or a banana to make nutrition your ally in furthering the repair and refueling of your body. Avoid over-training a muscle by waiting a couple of days before aggressively working it again.
Routine of Rest
A muscle naturally recovers every seven days if it's allowed to rest. Training each muscle group once a week will create this routine, as can an intentional weekly day of rest. According to Runner's World, such steps will prevent overuse injuries, restore glycogen stores and prevent mental burnout. An alternative is to take an easy day where you aim for 70 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate during exercise to build a base, improve endurance and increase blood volume.
Your growth hormone levels that assist in muscle recovery are at their highest when you sleep, according to BodyBuilding.com. Proper sleep patterns typically include eight or more hours of rest a night and can increase your ability to memorize information, concentrate, have a more regulated appetite and maintain healthier body functions. Rest needs will vary for each person based on diet, stress, genetics, environment, age, physiology and more.