The Importance of Rest and Recovery in Your Fitness Routine

By Luke Iles – May 23, 2023

When you have that motivation to train and are determined to hit your fitness goals, you feel like you are unstoppable. However, if you ever find yourself in this mindset, it is important to step back and breathe for a minute and take into consideration if you are getting enough adequate rest within your training plan.

An aspect of fitness and health that often goes overlooked is how necessary rest and recovery are in regard to actually helping you achieve your fitness goals. Whether you want to lose weight or put on muscle, rest and recovery is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to a successful fitness plan.

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According to studies conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, they have concluded that “too much overload or not enough recovery (or both) can result in psychological symptoms that limit performance.” Therefore suggesting that it is important to incorporate some rest days into your fitness routines if you are planning on wanting to see results quicker.

Why Rest and Recovery is Necessary After Training

After a hard workout at the gym or a long, unforgiving run your body gets worked hard and put under a lot of stress from the exercise you have just completed. The stress from this exercise can cause microscopic tears in your muscles. These tears are not harmful to your overall health however can leave you feeling tired and lethargic the days after. This is known as something called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

DOMS are an essential part of building stronger muscles and helping you achieve your fitness goals so although you may be feeling sore, it is important to know that this is a great indication that you are putting in the hard work when training.

In order to allow these tears to recover and mend themselves, rest is required after exercise.

When you rest after exercise, your body repairs this damage, and the muscles and tissues become stronger and more resilient.

That is why rest needs to be incorporated into your fitness routine because it allows your body to rebuild and repair the damage caused by exercise. If you do not give your body enough time to rest, you may experience symptoms of overtraining, such as persistent soreness, fatigue, and decreased performance.

Over time, overtraining can lead to serious injury or illness which is something that will not only negatively affect your fitness goals but also cause you more longer-term health-related problems in the future, that is why rest is so necessary.

How You Can Incorporate Rest Into Your Fitness Plan

As now established, if you previously weren’t including enough rest days within your fitness plan, it is now time to start building your plan around rest. Now, don’t get it mixed up, on your rest days you do not need to be bed bound or refuse to partake in physical activity. Although you may feel like that sometimes!

Instead, it is just important to ensure that you are getting enough rest and not heading down to the gym or getting involved in a level of intense exercise. The type of exercise you should be getting involved with is active recovery. This type of recovery aids recovery and involves types of low-intensity exercise that have been proven to aid in recoveries such as a gentle walk, stretching, yoga or light swimming.

These types of exercises help to reduce the feeling of DOMS and boost recovery and health after an intense training session the day before. Stretching and yoga are also great for mental health and reducing the chance of picking up injuries whilst you train.

As a rule of thumb, you should have a rest day at least two times a week where you partake in active recovery in order to reduce the feeling of soreness and also allow your body to recover and repair those torn muscle fibers. This way you will see a much more significant return in fitness results whilst avoiding that feeling of burnout when you over-train every day.


Overall, ensuring that you are well rested and including some sort of recovery plan in your fitness training routine is not only beneficial in helping you achieve your fitness goals but it will also help you reduce the risk of other negative health risks and injuries. Furthermore, you will be able to see fitness progress quicker and train more effectively on the days you actually do partake in intense physical training. All in all, recovery and rest are vital when partaking in physical activity.

About the Author

Luke is a co-founder of HandL Blogs, a blogging website that discusses topical information and theories on all his different passions including fitness, cooking, travel and tech. He has a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a love for educating and helping others both physically and mentally within the fitness world.


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