If you are like most of America (including myself), you are lacking sleep and don’t take time to rest your body. Resting is how our bodies recover from the beating we give them daily, so if you are not getting enough sleep or taking time to relax, your body is not able to heal like it should, which affects athletic performance. Through personal past experiences of not taking enough rest and recovery days, I have seen the negative impact of what happens with athletic performance. It results in decreased strength, decreased power, decreased speed, and decreased endurance, all of which are required for peak athletic performance.
I spend most of my time around active adults (elite and recreational both), including runners, CrossFitters, and triathletes, all of which tend to train hard daily. Some of these athletes listen to their bodies and take active rest or full rest days, but most do not.
If you feel like you need more sleep, are more irritable, feel like you are forcing yourself to go work out, overthinking or stressing yourself out easily, or are no longer having fun with what you are doing, it is probably your body’s way of telling you to rest.
Depending on what your sport is and how you are feeling, this could mean full rest (as in do nothing but whatever is relaxing for you), active rest of some other sporting or recreational activity you enjoy, changing the focus of what you are currently working on and picking a different skill to address, or doing some yoga or mobility work to get your body loosened up.
And depending on how beat up you feel depends on how long of rest you need to take…it could just be a day or two, or may need to be a week.
Your call to action: If you are feeling more tired, weak, stressed, and frustrated, you probably need a rest day. Take it!
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