Whether you’re a high-performing athlete, at the gym all the time, or simply enjoy being active, it’s important to take time every week to let your muscles recover and prevent burnout. While you’re at it, you can spend your rest days prioritizing healthy eating, learning, and your loved ones. Here are eight of the best things to do on your rest days that will benefit your fitness goals and recovery, while helping you relax.
Prioritize hydration and eating healthy
Because it’s a rest day, you’ll naturally have more time. Spend some of that time nourishing yourself whether you do meal prep for the rest of the week or make a healthy snack for the day. You can even use a delivery service to have your hydration essentials or last minute ingredients delivered right to your home. This way you can avoid leaving the house, stay in your comfy clothes, and really maximize your rest day.
Get some sleep
Sleep is crucial to the recovery process. Healthy adults should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. If you have trouble falling asleep, try turning off your phone and pick up a book to read yourself to sleep instead. If your mind is always racing, try listening to soft music or even a podcast or an audiobook to give yourself something else to focus on when your eyes are closed.
Wear compression socks
Compression socks help to reduce swelling and pain in your legs, which aids in recovery. Wearing them around the house on rest days improves circulation and re-energizes tired legs. Skineez makes soothing, easy to put on, so soft you won’t want to take them off compression socks. These special medical grade socks revitalize, give your legs gentle compression hugs and are infused with healthy moisturizing ingredients that nourish and repair your skin.
Take a long bath
Baths promote relaxation, healing, and stress relief. If you’re looking to relax your muscles, sink into a nice warm bath, but if you’re looking to reduce inflammation, opt for a cold one. Either way, take a nice soak and let your mind relax as your muscles do. Add some Epsom salt to soothe soreness and speed up the healing process. Plus, bath salts make for a lovely scented bath experience with essential oils that can help to ease stress. To take your baths to the next level, put on some calming music, light a few candles, and dim the lights.
Try some yoga or foam rolling
Stretch and massage those poor muscles on your day off. Self-myofascial release, or foam rolling, is a massage technique that helps ease muscle inflammation, soreness, and tightness. Foam rolling is fairly straightforward, just be sure and read how to safely do some exercises. You could also try yoga to stretch. Yoga is proven to increase flexibility and help with tight muscles as well. Either way, both will leave your muscles feeling limber and flexible.
Curl up with a good book
We spend so much time in front of screens, so use your downtime to read and give your eyes a break from the constant blue light. When you read, you can go on adventures in any place, time, or universe without leaving the comfort of your bed. Or you can learn new things and grow your knowledge about virtually any subject. The New York Times Best Sellers list has fantastic book recommendations each week and can keep you apprised of what’s new.
Enjoy the fresh air
With spring in the air and summer around the corner, it’s the perfect time to set up the hammock or pull out a lawn chair so you can sit outside. Alternatively, you can go sit in a park or at the base of a waterfall. However you decide to do it, spend some time in the sunshine or shade with a gentle breeze. Being outside is proven to boost your mood, improve focus, and just help to generally relax you.
Spend time with your people
While taking a rest day is primarily for your muscles to recover, it also gives you more time to spend with your loved ones. Now that the weather is warming up, you can have some friends over for a campfire, barbeque, or garden party. If you have kids, spend time playing with them, reading to them, or take them to their favorite park. You could also take your significant other out for a romantic date night or your group of friends out for a girls or guys night on the town! Whatever you do, prioritize growing relationships and making memories.
No matter how you choose to spend your rest day, be sure and give both your mind and body the time and space to recover. This way you’ll have the strength and energy to tackle whatever’s next!