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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, May 29, 2017

Why you need to take a rest day

The time hardcore fitness buffs or gym goers spend in the gym may be cut down with summer around the corner.

If this strikes a chord with you and you think your body will suffer from a less intense training schedule, new research points to just the opposite. Your body actually needs rest and frequent, definitive breaks in training to benefit from the hard work you are putting in.

A recent study from Brock University in Canada looked at blood samples from 15 female Olympic rowers during their most intense workout weeks (averaging 18 hours a week of dedicated training) followed by samples taken on recovery days without rowing.

Here’s what they found:

Rowers showed lower levels of osteoprotegerin (OPG)—a protein that protects against bone loss—during heavy workout days.

They exhibited higher levels of sclerostin (SOST)—a protein that hinders new bone formation—during high-intensity training weeks.  

Rigorous training leads to inflammation throughout the body, which likely contributes to higher levels of SOST.

These results suggest that prolonged high-intensity training may cause bone damage over time. This could ultimately lead to decreased bone density and osteoporosis, broken bones and fractures, or other overuse injuries.

In addition, muscles are said to grow bigger and stronger if you factor rest days into your weight-bearing (such as weight-lifting) routine. As pressure mounts within a muscle during a workout, tiny tears occur in the tissues…and time is the best remedy for allowing these tears to heal and mend properly so that the muscle can recover and then function even stronger than before.

If weight-lifting is in your regular rotation, alternate the amount of reps you do each week between high, medium, and low volume, as well as varying the amounts of the weights themselves.  

Also, plan a few days to “deload” every four to eight weeks where you do nothing weight-bearing or of high-intensity for several days in a row. Instead opt for walking, light swimming, or a leisurely jog to stay active.

If you have chronic bone, muscle, or joint pain due to your heavy workouts, please contact us for an appointment.

 (Adapted from Men’s Health)

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