I fully believe that rest is an exercise in itself. No, I do not mean we can count resting 7 days a week as a workout! I am saying that our bodies are constantly working on healing themselves. During weightlifting, you are actually ripping your muscles apart and as they heal themselves they grow stronger. Do you think that working those same muscles every day will allow the torn tissue to repair itself? No. That is one reason why I believe you should count 1 day of rest a week as part of your exercise routine. It is not something you should feel guilty about, rather, you should be joyful knowing that your body is using that day to take care of itself and build muscle mass.
Many people use home workout programs such as P90X to work out to. P90X is the extreme of these workouts, which ask that participants commit to doing their program for 90 days. This is a long time! As we work out, our body keeps readjusting to the methods we are doing. That is why we keep on upping the weights or increasing our reps. What these programs do not realize is that our bodies are all different. As I get more muscle mass and do more reps, I may need to adjust my workouts differently than p90X. For instance. I may realize that I can get a better workout if I remove a few exercises and replace them with something more intense. Some people swap slower workouts with more intense cardio or plyometric workout programs such as Insanity.
What I have realized for myself is that I need to create my own goals and use what I have learned over these 90 days to create a workout plan that is catered to my goals. Could I have done this from the start? I do not believe so. I would have wasted so many days with trial and error. After doing these workouts 8 or more times each I have seen what really works and what does not. Sometimes you get to a point where an exercise is just to easy and you need to stop and reconfigure.
Rest helps you do all of the above. It helps you to heal, reconfigure and get results you want.
Rest easy tonight!