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New exercisers usually wonder, should I work out every day or do I need to take a rest day? The answer to this question is complicated because each person is different. Whether you are training for a long-distance run, trying to lose weight or just want to live a healthy life, it’s important to stick with the right amount of exercise for your goals.

When you work out, your muscles experience two different types of stress: 1) metabolic stress is when you lose energy stored in your muscle cells, and 2) mechanical stress is the physical damage to the muscle proteins when you're working out. These reactions happen while you're counting your reps, sets, miles and minutes! If your body is undergoing these metabolic and mechanical stressors during exercise, when do your muscles recover? The answer: when you’re resting and eating a post-workout snack or meal. Physical rest helps to repair damaged muscle proteins, while adequate nutrition replenishes the glucose expended during the workout.

There is no denying that time management as a college student is difficult. Regardless of how much you need to study, setting time for adequate nourishment should always be factored into your daily plans. Quality meals that are high in nutrients can boost your academic performance, improve your mood and even help achieve a better sleep regimen. Eating nutritious food is a critical component to a successful higher education experience. So, the next time you feel pressure from the heavy school load, try these skills to help balance academics and nutrition in your daily routine

Your body needs time to heal, especially following more intense workouts. However, you can still exercise every day if you want! Exercise doesn’t always mean an intense work out where you’re sore for days after; it can also mean just enjoying going outside and moving for fun. One suggestion for those who do want to work out every day is to switch up the type of exercise and intensity, so your body has time to recover. This can be accomplished by:

  • Changing up the reps and sets you do day to day or even week to week.
  • Adjusting the amount of weight lifted; if you’re lifting heavy one day, lift a little lighter the next.
  • Try a split workout routine. Work lower body one day then upper body the next.
  • Try something different! Take a yoga class, play basketball or ride your bike on the beach.

Every person is different and has different lifestyle goals. Check in on yourself and see how you’re feeling. If you need a rest day, it's okay to take a rest day. You shouldn't look at it as if you're being lazy. Look at it as recovery so you can come back the next day and hit your workout even harder

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