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How to properly rest after exercise

How to properly rest after exercise

Proper recovery from physical activity has a major impact on exercise performance. That is why the rest period is the most important part of a well-structured training program. Unfortunately, many beginners put a lot of emphasis on exercise and forget to plan their rest after exercise. In this article, we'll take a closer look at how to properly rest after exercise.

Most athletes know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential for high performance in sports, but even so, many continue to exercise too hard and feel terrible guilt when they take a day off. The truth is the body repairs and strengthens itself when resting between workouts. Keep in mind that prolonged and excessive training can backfire and weaken even the strongest athletes.

Why is the rest after exercise important?

Human muscles need rest because, during a serious load, muscle tissue receives many microtraumas and loses its supply of glycogen - glucose necessary for nutrition. The recovery period takes 24 to 48 hours. This is why professional athletes do not load the same muscle groups for two days in a row.

Effective training is the kind of work that puts the body under stress. This happens because by hard physical exercises we remove the body from our favourite state of comfort, in connection with which it turns on its protective reflex - the recovery process, followed by an increase in strength and general endurance. The same process is triggered as a result of damage to muscle fibres, which we mercilessly injure during strength training with heavy weights.

That is, the reaction of the muscles to a high load is stress followed by recovery. And with each such process, the muscles become larger and stronger. That is, muscle growth does not occur during the training itself, but during a good rest from physical activity. To understand how long it will take to restore microtraumas of muscle tissue and, accordingly, the growth of strength and muscles, you need to understand how the process itself takes place.

Popular myths about muscle work and recovery

No pain, no gain. This statement is only partly true. A common newbie mistake is not being able to tell the difference between a mild or severe burning sensation in the muscles and harmful pain in the muscles, bones and joints, which is more a sign of overtraining than “great work”. Therefore, if excruciating pain in the body appears after each workout, this is a sure signal to periodically either reduce or, conversely, increase. You should also recalculate your diet in terms of calories in order to make sure there is no deficit.

Bed rest on days of rest. Such a myth is more common among beginners who work hard to strengthen muscles, how much to build up the total mass, and that is why on days of rest they sometimes even panic fear to expend even the minimum amount of valuable calories. In fact, increased blood circulation helps to shorten recovery time, so instead of getting enough sleep and lying down, it is more beneficial to do a light cardio workout in the “warm-up” style, but not fat burning.

Split is more effective than full-body workouts. This myth was refuted after a 2015 study comparing the results of athletes who divided the program into splits 3 days a week, and athletes who prefer a complex workout for all the muscles of the body also 3 days a week. The best results were shown by the latter and even those athletes who divided training into the upper and lower body.

How to properly rest after exercise?

The easy way to recover quickly is through rational training planning. Try to avoid overtraining. Excessive stress, combined with a lack of rest, significantly reduces the effectiveness of physical exercises, thereby delaying the desired result.

During training, use such a technique as "cool down" or, in other words, cooling. Reduce the pace of your workout for 5-10 minutes. Don't stop exercising, just exercise at a lower intensity. So the muscles will get rid of lactic acid, stress will pass. After an intense workout, you need to do some stretching exercises. This will help your muscles recover.

Remember to replace fluid loss. It is advisable to do this during training, but you can drink after training. Plain water maintains the body's metabolism at the required level and accelerates the recovery processes. It will also not be superfluous to eat a dish of complex carbohydrates and high-quality protein 1-1.5 hours after training.

Perform an active recovery. Light, gentle movements improve blood circulation, which helps deliver nutrients throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles recover faster and gain strength faster. You can learn more about active recovery and its techniques in this article.


Rest after exercise is, oddly enough, one of the most important components of muscle growth. After all, as we have already learned from the materials of this article, muscles grow precisely during periods of rest. Therefore, rest and recovery should not be neglected to effectively and quickly increase muscle mass. After all, it is much easier to devote time to rest than to face overtraining or sports injury.