Getting adequate rest is just as important as working out if you’re trying to improve your physical fitness. Exercise leads to minor tears in muscle tissues, leading to your body repairing them to be stronger than they ever were. These repairs mostly take place when you’re resting, so failing to get adequate rest can limit your gains in the gym. However, you don’t have to be completely inactive on your rest days since many low-impact workouts won’t affect your body’s ability to repair your sore muscles. Here are 15 exercises and activities to add to your rest-day schedule.
Walking gives you many health benefits, like helping to maintain a healthy weight, improving your mood, and strengthening your immune system. The more frequently, farther, and faster a person walks, the more benefits they get from it.
Walking doesn’t put much stress on your body, so it won’t hinder your body’s ability to rebuild muscle tissues damaged by your main workouts. It’s a great way to get your heart rate higher on your off days without tasking your body.
Hiking is an excellent way to add variety to your walks while getting some fresh air and enjoying nature. It can be as strenuous or relaxed as you want it to be, making it perfect for both active and rest days.
Like walking, hiking is easy on your body and won’t interfere with muscle repair. You can go at your own pace and tailor the difficulty to your needs, making it a great addition to any workout routine.
Yoga has many benefits, including increased flexibility, improved balance, better posture, and reduced stress levels. It’s also a low-impact exercise that’s easy on your joints and muscles, making it perfect for rest days. It can help improve your range of motion and flexibility, both of which are important for lifting weights and doing other exercises.
Pilates is another great low-impact workout for your rest days. It can help improve your posture, strengthen your core muscles, and increase your flexibility.
Like yoga, Pilates is gentle enough that it won’t interfere with muscle repair on your days off. It’s a great way to work on your posture and flexibility while getting some light exercise in.
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art often described as “meditation in motion.” It’s a slow and gentle exercise involving a series of fluid movements.
Tai Chi is easy on your joints and muscles, so you stay busy with it on your rest days. It can also enhance your balance and coordination.
Barre is a type of workout that blends elements of ballet, yoga, and Pilates. It’s a low-impact workout that’s great for toning your muscles and improving your flexibility.
Barre is perfect for rest days because it’s gentle enough that it won’t interfere with muscle repair. It allows you to work on your posture and flexibility while getting some light exercise in.
Swimming is an excellent form of cardio that’s gentler on your body than walking. It’s an effective way to get your heart rate up without putting stress on your body.
Swimming is perfect for rest days because it doesn’t interfere with muscle repair; rather, it speeds up the repair process. It gives you a cardio workout without any high-impact movements, and is often recommended for people looking to rehabilitate injuries or pregnant women.
The elliptical is an excellent piece of cardio equipment that’s easy on your joints and muscles. Like swimming, the elliptical is perfect for rest days because it’s easy on your body and won’t interfere with muscle repair when used at a light pace. It’s also an efficient way to get some cardio in without having to do high-impact exercises.
Cycling is another effective form of cardio that has a low impact on your frame. Cycling is perfect for rest days because it’s generally easy on your body and won’t interfere with muscle repair. Keep your pace light to avoid overexerting yourself. Cycling is also a fun way to enjoy the local scenery.
Rowing is a good form of cardio that works your whole body. It is a low-impact exercise, so it’s ideal for rest days. You get to enjoy some light cardio while having fun on the water. You can use the rowing machine at your local gym if you prefer to row indoors.
While you might not think of strength training as a low-impact exercise, many exercises are easy on your joints and muscles. Exercises like bodyweight squats, lunges, and push-ups are great for rest days.
Strength training might not seem like the ideal activity for rest days, but it works if you target muscles you might have missed during your main workout. It’s also a great way to improve bone density and joint health.
Stretching is essential to any workout routine, and it takes little effort. Stretching helps improve your flexibility and range of motion, both of which are important for lifting weights and doing other exercises.
Stretching is perfect for rest days because it’s easy on your body and promotes recovery. It’s also an excellent way to work on your flexibility and range of motion. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to get the full benefit.
Getting a massage is a great way to promote recovery on your rest days. Massage can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve muscle tension.
Massages promote recovery and help with soreness caused by your workouts. It helps to unwind after a tough workout week.
Foam rollers can be used for self-massages to help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve muscle tension. It also helps to reduce post-workout soreness.
Saunas are great for promoting recovery on your rest days. Saunas can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve muscle tension. Sitting in a sauna helps remove toxins in your body and speeds up recovery. Saunas can also help with weight management.
Text: Evolve MMA
Evolve MMA is Asia’s top martial arts academy to house the most number of world champions across all major martial arts disciplines.
This article was originally published on Nov 9, 2022 and updated on August 27, 2023.