Educating Your Clients About Rest Days

Black and white image of man running with "Human Performance Refined" caption.
The following blog post is sponsored by Structural Elements®.

Rest days have mechanical, metabolic, and mental benefits. Depending on training intensity and overall volume, taking a rest day (or days) is essential to both injury prevention and athletic performance. Fitness gains are the product of work + recovery. If the training volume exceeds the body’s ability to recover between efforts, athletes can suffer from metabolic debt. If soft tissue doesn’t have the resources it needs to repair, it can result in tendon injuries, muscle strains, and even stress fractures.

Rest days can look a few different ways. There are active rest days and passive rest days. An active rest day should be used to accomplish one of two things: cross training or metabolic flushing. Cross training offers the opportunity to vary the mechanical stress of running, but still create the metabolic load to improve fitness. It is also helpful to work other muscle groups that can get neglected if running is your only activity. Metabolic flushing is like doing the dishes. It’s hard for tissue to repair itself without adequate blood flow. Metabolic flushing is getting the heart rate up, but not keeping it there. These should be short efforts that don’t cause additional metabolic debt, but instead kick-start the body’s systems to aid in repair. 

True rest days should not involve any metabolic loading or high heart rate activity. Remember, the heart is also a muscle, and it needs time to recover as well. On true rest days, doing low heart rate, low intensity activities is still fine. In fact, sitting or lying on the couch all day can lead to muscle tightening and restricted blood flow, which will delay recovery. Using a foam roller, percussion massage gun, or pneumatic compression boots are all great ways to improve blood flow without changing the heart rate. Practices like yoga, meditation, and stretching should be gentle and restorative. Use these to help the mind recover as well as the body. Blood flow restriction is another tool that can be beneficial. This first deprives tissue of blood flow to create oxygen debt, then when released, oxygen floods the area with fresh blood supply. This can be repeated on several body parts to improve recovery time, again without additional stress on the heart.

Getting massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, or physical therapy can also be a good use of a rest day, but might be even more effective if done after a run on a training day and then use the day after your treatment to recover from the treatment.

Rest days should not be used to lose focus on eating healthy! Overindulgence is better to aid recovery following a big effort on a high-volume day. On rest days you want to give all your systems a break. On rest days you want to drink additional fluids and eat small frequent healthy meals. This will help make sure you have good availability of nutrients to properly repair tissue and recover metabolically.

Structural Elements founder Douglas Bertram.
Douglas Bertram, L.Ac, MTCM, and previous LMT
Founder of Structural Elements®

Proud Sponsor of the ABMP CE Summit

Want to win a 3-month membership to (se)® Connect, Structural Elements’ multidisciplinary education and business-building platform? Structural Elements is a proud sponsor of the 2021 ABMP CE Summit event. This online education conference focuses on essential tools for the upper body on day one and the lower body on day two. Don’t miss this opportunity to interact with the course instructors live online, learn tools to help your practice, and connect with your massage and bodywork community! This event—including 6 hours of CE—is free for ABMP members and just $99 for nonmembers!

Register for the Giveaway

Register for the 2021 ABMP CE Summit event and then register for the Structural Elements giveaway. Your event registration gives you access to all of the presentations and course replays after the event.

Learn More

Category: 

Trustpilot Reviews

News

Texas to Review Massage Rules—Submit Your Comments by May 30

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is reviewing the Massage Therapy Administrative Rules to determine whether they should be readopted, revised, or discontinued. You can submit comments on the rules or suggest changes by May 30, 2022.

Blog

Noriko Smith: Finding Life Through Oncology Massage

Noriko Smith, massage therapist and winner of ABMP's Massage is for EveryBody essay contest.

Noriko Smith was one of the winners of ABMP’s Massage is for EveryBody 2021 contest, and we wanted to share more of her story, which exemplifies the inclusive values of this campaign. Please join us in celebrating Noriko!

Benefits

Read the May / June 2022 Issue of Massage & Bodywork Magazine

The May/June 2022 issue of ABMP's Massage & Bodywork magazine is available at www.massageandbodyworkdigital.com. ABMP members get a print subscription as part of membership, and the digital edition is available online and free to the profession.

In this issue, we explore pelvic tilt and spinal compensation, improving bodywork through breath, and how listening to your clients is a superpower. We also discuss SI joint dysfunction, overuse injuries, and much more!⁠

Cupping Canada Inc. and Mobile Massage Mastery GIVEAWAY: Value over $2,022!

Cupping Canada Inc. and Mobile Massage Mastery GIVEAWAY—value over $2,022!

3 lucky participants will win shared prizes:

• 16 CE live online Evidence Informed Clinical Cupping course from Cupping Canada & Cupping USA (NCBTMB approved & Canadian approvals) - valued at $405 CAD

• Online course starter kit, tie dye silicone drinking glass & silicone straw kit from Cupping Canada and Cupping USA - valued at $120 CAD

2022 ABMP CE Summit Course: Updating our Hands-On Approach

Learn about the properties of fascia and hands-on techniques for working with fascia in the leg. Join Til Luchau and Whitney Lowe for this engaging course that explores the composition and roles of fascia and collagen and demonstrates several myofascial hands-on techniques focused on the fascia in the leg and the sartorius, gracilis, semitendinosus, and pes anserinus muscles.

Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...