Monday, June 27, 2011

How important are rest days between workouts and cool downs after workouts?

Are cool downs really important?

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I love doing the 30 Day Shred DVD. The first few times I used this dvd, I did the cool down afterwards. It hurt my back and my legs, so I stopped trying the cool down.

I was reading something interesting in The Biggest Loser's Fitness Program last night about how important cool downs really are & I decided to give them another chance. The cool down is just as important as the warm up. Do you ever workout without doing a warm up first? I know I don't!

A cool down brings your body back down to it's pre-exercise state. A cool down serves multiple purposes but the most important things a cool down does is it reduces your pulse to it's pre-exercise state and in addition to that, a cool down returns the blood to your heart in the proper amounts so it can expel the lactic acid (a chemical result of muscular fatigue) from your muscles. Signs of an improper cool down are dizziness, nausea, & an overall feeling of exhaustion.

In short: always try to do a cool down after any exercise.

Should I allow resting days in between my workouts?

Another thing you may have noticed is I am trying to do crunches on a daily basis, a minimum of 100 of them. After doing some research on rest days and their importance, I am going to shoot for 250 crunches a day 3- times a week instead of daily. Not a good idea to work out the same muscles so often! Kind of stinks, I love doing crunches.

If you are doing weight lifting or strength training in your workouts, you need to give your muscles a chance to regroup. When you're working out, you're ripping your muscles to shreds, literally. The resting period is when your muscle rebuilds & comes back stronger, appearing more toned than before. You also need to rest in order to give your body a chance to replenish energy stores as well.

It is believed by many that you should work out certain muscle groups only on certain days. An example of a suitable workout routine can be found here. I may try this schedule for myself this week! Not necessarily those exercises, but I like the general idea for the muscles worked on those days.
Do you need to take rest days from cardio as well as strength training?

No, you don't really need rest days from cardio. 6 days a week is considered reasonable for cardio, but if you're comfortable doing it daily, go for it. The thing you need to remember is that you should have one day a week that is a true rest day from all forms of exercise. It will help you avoid getting burned out!

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