You’re working hard towards your fitness goals. You have a vision in sight, and the motivation to get there. You’ve tuned up your diet, built time into your day for exercise, and you’ve made the switch from soda to water. Great! But did you build rest into your routine?   A rest day is the one day of the week when you deliberately don’t work out or push yourself hard. Both awake and asleep, rest is important to your fitness goals because it allows your muscles and cardiovascular system to recover and rebuild. Working hard every day to reach your goals without rest may feel like the most productive path, however, it can actually lead to overtraining and injury. So, what should you do on your day off?   Active Rest Days If you’re the type of person that can’t sit still on a day off, you might want to consider planning a bit of active rest into your day. This will allow you to “clean” your muscles of any built-up lactic acid and get in tune with your body at a slower pace. Over time, as your fitness improves, you may even be able to incorporate more intense exercise on a rest day, because it will take more work to raise your heart rate. Keep the following in mind on your active rest days:   • Keep the pace low: You should be able to hold a conversation during active rest activities. A very light jog, hike, or bike ride are all great ideas.   • Watch your heart rate: Below 130 BPM is a normal target. Anything above that can trigger hormones to release which are associated with physical stress, canceling out your goal of recovery.  

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