Do you ever feel guilty for taking a rest day? You’re not alone. Many people feel like they should be doing something productive every day, even if it’s just a light workout. But is that the best way to spend your time? This post will examine whether you should do cardio on a rest day. Keep reading to learn more!

Cardio on rest day

Should you do cardio on rest days?

The answer is generally yes if you’re wondering whether you should do cardio on rest days. Cardio can help improve cardiovascular health, increase energy reserves, and even help you lose weight. However, it’s essential to listen to your body and not overdo it. If you’re feeling exhausted or sore, take a break and focus on other forms of exercise.

Why are rest days important?

Rest days are just as important as workout days. They’re essential for recovery and avoiding injury. When you exercise, your muscles are tearing and breaking down. It’s during rest that your body repairs and strengthens those muscles. So, if you don’t take adequate rest days, you could end up hurting yourself or not seeing the results you want from your workouts.

How often should you rest?

Most people need at least one full day of rest per week. If you’re starting, you may need more. And if you’re training for a marathon or other endurance event, you may need even more. So listen to your body and take rest days as needed.

5 Best types of cardio activities for rest days

If you decide to do some light cardio on rest days, you may want to do some low-impact cardio so you’re not too fatigued or injured for when you go back to strength training. For that, some activities are better than others. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Walking

Walking is a great way to get some cardio without putting too much stress on your body. It’s low impact, so it’s easy on your joints and a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine.

Research shows that walking can also have some significant health benefits. For example, it can help lower your heart disease, stroke, and diabetes risk. It can also help improve your mental health and mood.

2. Swimming

Swimming is another excellent low-impact cardio activity. It’s also a great workout for your entire body, so it’s perfect for rest days.

Keep in mind that swimming can be strenuous if you’re not used to it. So start slowly and build up your endurance over time.

3. Cycling

Cycling is a great way to get in some cardio without putting too much stress on your joints. It’s also a great way to explore your surroundings and get fresh air.

Like swimming, cycling can be strenuous if you’re not used to it. Start slowly and build up your endurance over time.

4. Elliptical Machines

An elliptical machine provides a great workout for those days when you don’t feel like going outside. It’s low impact and relatively easy on your joints. And you can adjust the intensity to match what energy you have.

A good rule of thumb is to start with low intensity and gradually increase the level as you get warmed up.

5. Yoga

Yoga is a great way to stretch and relax your muscles on a rest day. It can also help improve your flexibility and range of motion.

There are many different types of yoga, so there’s sure to be one perfect for you. If you’re new to yoga, start with a beginner’s class or private lesson.

Top tips on doing cardio on a rest day

Now that you know what the best activities are, here are a few tips on how to make the most of your cardio on a rest day:

  1. Start slow: Remember that you’re not trying to push yourself to the limit on a rest day. Instead, start with low intensity and gradually increase the level as you get warmed up.
  1. Don’t overdo it: It’s essential to listen to your body on a rest day. If you’re feeling exhausted or sore, take a break and focus on other forms of exercise.
  1. Focus on your breathing: Quite a popular thing to do on a rest day is to take extra care of your breathing. When you do slow and deep breathing, this will help lower your heart rate and ease any tension you may feel.
  1. Enjoy yourself: Rest days are an excellent opportunity to do something you enjoy that’s not related to exercise. Maybe go for a walk in the park, cycle to a nearby town, or relax at home with a good book.
  1. Make it social: Rest days are also an excellent opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Maybe go for a walk, cycle with your partner, or meet up with a friend for coffee.

FAQs

How much cardio should I do on rest days?

It is essential to listen to your body on rest days and do what feels right for you. For example, some people find that doing a light cardio workout on their rest days helps them to stay active, prevents stiffness, helps keep their heart healthy and burn those extra calories, while others prefer to rest and allow their bodies to recover completely. If you choose to do cardio on your rest days, aim for a moderate intensity and duration.

Does cardio on rest days affect muscle growth?

As long as you’re feeding your body the fuel it needs for muscle growth, doing cardio on your rest days shouldn’t affect your muscle growth. Ultimately, it is essential to experiment and see what works best for you.

Can I do HIIT on rest days?

Again, we can’t put a certain answer to this question. Some people find that HIIT helps them stay active and prevents stiffness on their rest days, while others find it too intense and prefer to stick to light cardio or complete rest. Ultimately, it is essential to experiment and see what feels best for you.

Final thoughts

So, should you do cardio on rest days? The answer is generally yes, but listen to your body and don’t overdo it. If you’re feeling exhausted or sore, take a break and focus on other forms of exercise. And remember, rest days are just as important as workout days. They’re essential for recovery and avoiding injury. So, make sure to take adequate rest days per week. Experiment and see what works best for you.

About the Author: Zoe Taylor

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Zoe Taylor has a degree in Sports and Exercise Science and is an avid runner and fitness writer. Zoe works with BodyCapable by researching and writing cardio-related content. In her spare time, Zoe runs marathons, keeps up to date with the latest fitness trends, and enjoys walking her dog!