In past posts, we’ve talked about the importance of flexibility and mobility training, as well as how they differ from one another. But should you perform flexibility and mobility routines on your rest days? Absolutely.
The importance of rest days
Rest days are as important to exercise as exercise itself, and maybe more so. Resting your muscles on a regular basis has a host of benefits. When we exercise, we create microscopic tears in our muscles. Rest days allow those muscles to rebuild and repair themselves, making them stronger.
Resting your body helps to prevent over training and burnout, resulting in improvements to overall performance and preventing injury. Some believe rest days even help us get better sleep at night.
What does it mean to take a rest day?
Taking a rest day doesn’t necessarily mean that you binge watch your favorite Netflix show all day or banish all physical movement. You also shouldn’t abandon all self-control and consume pizza and beer all day. Overindulging on your rest day can slow or impede the great progress you’ve made during the rest of the week.
When having a rest day, think of it as an active rest day. For some people, that means taking a long walk, riding your bicycle, or other causal activities. You’re not pushing for a personal best, but you’re not crunching on Cheetos all day from your couch, either.
Using flexibility and mobility on your rest days
You can use your rest day to improve your flexibility or mobility, or both. As a quick reminder, flexibility stretches and lengthens the muscles, while mobility refers to your joint movement and range of motion. You can do both of these every day.
You can find some daily mobility exercises on prior posts here and here. And, I’ve included some great cool down and stretch routines in Day 1 of the Simple Fitness 30-Day Challenge. Today, I’m sharing a combined flexibility and mobility routine that gives some extra love to those aching muscles and stiff joints. You’ll feel like a new person at the end of this bad boy. The routine includes a long piece of PVC pipe (you’ll see why), but you can substitute a broom handle, hockey stick, or some other version of a long stick.
This video comes from Human Fitness 2.0, an Ontario-based gym that focuses on functional fitness, mobility training, and injury prevention. I like these guys because they’re not about just getting ripped and throwing around weights. They focus on intentional body movement geared towards preventing injury. They have an extensive free workout library that includes videos on knee, hip and shoulder health.