Why rest days are not only okay, but important.
"Today I did nothing." You don't hear me saying this sentence very often. When I say it, I usually don't mean really "nothing", but: "Today I haven't done any sports". And very often, I feel very bad. This is mainly because I imagine that I always have to move. I often have the feeling that if I just sit down, have another cup of coffee, maybe eat a piece of cake and do "nothing else", then I've wasted valuable training time.
In fact, that's not the case. Rest days - real rest days! - are important for your body and also for your soul. But only if you really allow them and if you stop judging yourself if you do "nothing".
What happens to your body on rest days?
During the training you pass on stimuli to your muscles, which the body converts into increased performance during the regeneration phase. Basically, you can assume that the more intense your training is, the longer and more important are the regeneration phases. Intensive training weakens your body for a short time. The temporary extreme strain, for example, causes microscopically small damage to the muscles and tendons. These injuries are called micro lesions. Injuries? Exactly. The motto is: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
In the regeneration phase, your body repairs these micro lesions and builds up new muscle mass - it remembers the stress and weakness, so to speak, and ensures that it can compensate for this weakness next time.
So your body is going to thank you if you give it regular breaks!
And the soul?
Sometimes it is good to switch off your head. Sure, that's what I like to do in sports, but at least I often think about my training, expected training successes and set goals. I put myself under pressure.
Learn to let your brain and soul rest.
The most classic resting phase for brain and soul is sleep. During sleep, the brain builds up new synapses, breaks down useless nerve connections and transports information into the long-term memory. This increases your mental performance (and creativity) - at work and on the mountain or on the running track.
But also in the waking phase you should just let everything dangle every now and then. The fact that contemplation has been an integral part of creative minds' work for centuries comes not out of nowhere. Rest days provide targeted stress reduction, you relax and go strengthened into the next training or the next working day.
Listening to your body and soul
The most important thing is that you listen to your body's signals. This is especially true for the rest days of the soul. Your body is in pain, so you (hopefully) react with a training break. This is the logical consequence for many athletes.
But also your mind demands a break on some days. Personally, I often find it much more difficult to listen to this signal. Especially because I always have the feeling that I am lazy and wasting time. For the future, I'm determined to listen to it more often when I have the feeling that I need a mental break. So the next time you think you've done "nothing", just remember: regeneration is an important phase not only in your training schedule, but also for your mental health!