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How Long Should You Really Rest Between Workouts?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We always talk about the importance of rest when it comes to your exercise routine. Your body needs that time to recover, and your overall health and fitness level will benefit from non-exercise days. But how much rest is too much? Research from the University of Missouri at Columbia found that only two days of inactivity are enough to cause the size of fat cells to increase by 25%! Surprised? Although this research was done on animals, the same could be true for people.

I've often heard that after 48 hours, your fitness level can start to decrease. That's one reason why it is important to stay regular with your workouts. I find that if I take too many rest days in a row, it's harder to get myself back to the gym (both physically and mentally). And when I do make it back, that same workout is usually a little more challenging than it was just 3 or 4 days before.

Balance is essential. Too few rest days and you can end up overtraining and compromising your progress. Too many rest days and your progress can also be compromised. As a general rule, I recommend taking 1-2 days off each week from all activity, spacing those days over the week.

What do you think? With so much talk about the importance of rest, are you surprised about the possible effects of just a little too much? How do you incorporate rest days into your exercise routine?