When people start working out, there can be a tendency to overdo it. This is where the benefits of resting come in to their own. The thinking is often, if three workouts are good, then six must be twice as good. However, the reality is that high intensity exercise performed 6 days a week will eventually lead to burnout, boredom and injury.The benefits of resting are huge. A day or two off each week is essential to allow muscles, tendons and ligaments the time to repair themselves.
Additionally, for those attempting to increase muscle mass, the old saying that growth occurs during down time, not during workouts, holds true. There are also the health benefits of rest. Research supports the theory that the human immune response is at risk when over-training occurs. Those most at risk of over-training are endurance athletes or those who combine strength training with endurance training - for example triathletes.
As a result, over-trained athletes or avid exercisers commonly suffer from ailments such as the common cold. It is critical for athletes and avid exercisers to understand the signs of over training - chief among which are an increase in resting heart rate, reaching training heart rate zone much sooner into a training period than usual, and the inability to make progress in fitness goals
There are also huge benefits from getting sufficient sleep. Research by Cornell psychology professor James B. Maas shows that if you get less than eight hours of sleep a night, you are operating impaired - your alertness, productivity and creativity, and general health are all affected. The reason that it is crucial to get in excess of eight hours is that between the seventh and eighth hour is when we get almost an hour of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the time when the mind repairs itself and grows new connections. It is estimated that one-third of all Americans get six hours of sleep a night or less when they should be getting nine or 10.