Can you do cardio on rest days


Cardio workouts such as running, cycling and swimming are beneficial for both physical and mental health. Many people choose to incorporate cardio into their routine on rest days to help maintain fitness levels or work towards a specific goal. But can you do cardio on rest days? The answer is yes, but with some caveats.

It is important to remember that rest days are just as vital for your body’s health as exercise days. Resting allows your muscles to repair, heal, and rebuild so that you can maximize the benefits of exercising on your active days. Doing any type of aerobic exercise on your rest day could interfere with this process by causing fatigue, soreness and muscle breakdown. Therefore, the best approach to cardio on rest days is light intensity activities such as walking or stretching rather than more intense exercises like running or cycling.

Benefits of Cardio on Rest Days

Doing cardio on rest days can help with overall recovery after a hard workout. It can also help improve your fitness level and enhance the results of your workout routine. Plus, it can help to boost your overall energy levels and improve your mood.

Let’s take a look at the other benefits of doing cardio on rest days and why it’s important to consider it:

Improves Circulation

Regular cardiovascular exercise, even on rest days, can help improve blood circulation throughout your body. Improved circulation is associated with increased energy levels, better quality of sleep and improved cognitive performance. Plus, by increasing the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout your body, you can be sure that every muscle is nourished and ready for your next workout.

Cardio on rest days can also help boost the efficiency of your metabolism. Your body needs to burn stored fat in order to fuel your workouts and reach peak performance. Without cardiovascular conditioning, fat burning will be slower and less efficient. Cardio can bolster this process by supplying the necessary oxygen-rich blood and improving metabolic rate.

In addition to physical benefits like:

  • increased oxidation of fat cells
  • improved muscular endurance
  • stronger bones
  • greater flexibility

cardio helps lower overall stress and anxiety levels too; releasing endorphins into the bloodstream which help produce a positive mental attitude during training sessions as well as while resting at home between workouts. So prioritize cardios like jogging or running to get both mental and physical resting benefits on those hard-earned days off!

Enhances Recovery

When it comes to incorporating cardio into your workout routine, it’s important to remember that rest days are just as vital as training days. Taking a rest day gives your body time to recover and adapt, allowing for better performance during future workouts. Adding some light aerobic activity on your rest day can actually help speed up this process.

Cardio on these days should involve low-intensity activities such as walking or biking in order to boost blood flow, flush out toxins from muscles, and promote enhanced tissue repair. This type of exercise also helps prevent muscle wasting and increases recovery due to the continuous mild movement helping muscles recover faster. Cardio can also increase blood circulation throughout the body, helping reduce swelling and soreness in overworked muscles. Furthermore, exercise helps with mental health by providing a distraction that encourages more lapsed time away from a specific focus area of life stressors or responsibilities.

When done correctly, light cardio on rest days can be an effective tool in aiding recovery while potentializing performance gains leading up to the next workout session. It is important not to overdo it however; stopping when you feel fatigued is key in ensuring effective recovery and growth without risking injury or exacerbating fatigue levels too much prior to your next lift session.

Increases Cardiovascular Endurance

One of the primary benefits of cardio on rest days is increased cardiovascular endurance. Regularly performing cardiovascular exercises can result in a greater ability to sustain physical activity for long periods of time.

When athletes and fitness buffs perform aerobic exercises, their bodies become more efficient at transporting oxygen to their muscles and more adept at using it. This happens as the lungs, heart, and circulatory system all become stronger, allowing them to carry more blood with each heartbeat and expend less energy during activity. Increased cardiovascular endurance can lead to:

  • Improved sports performance
  • Weight management
  • Overall better health

Types of Cardio to Do on Rest Days

Rest days are essential for muscle recovery, but there are still some cardio exercises that you can do on rest days to help burn additional calories and keep your heart healthy. Some people may choose a light jog or walk, while others may opt for a more rigorous workout. In this article, we will go through all the types of cardio you can do on rest days:

  • Light jog or walk
  • Rigorous workout

Low-Intensity Cardio

Low-intensity cardio is a type of physical activity that requires effort but not as much as regular cardio. It typically involves exercises that use large muscle groups and burn more calories, such as walking or jogging.

Low-intensity cardio can also involve activities like biking and swimming.

These types of exercises offer several benefits, such as increasing your cardiovascular fitness and helping to reduce stress. Additionally, low-intensity cardio can be done for short bursts to get the heart rate up and experience the same level of cardiovascular conditioning as higher intensity workouts.

When using low-intensity cardio on rest days, it is best used in combination with high-intensity workouts or other forms of exercise to build overall strength and help burn fat more efficiently. Additionally, it should be incorporated into your routine gradually so you do not become too sore while progressing your fitness goals.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combines periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a great way to get a quick and effective workout on rest days while still allowing your body time to recover from your regular cardio routine. HIIT is highly adaptable and can be done using any type of exercise equipment or just a simple bodyweight program.

Examples of HIIT include:

  • Circuit training
  • Sprints
  • Mountain climbers
  • Jumping jacks

The benefits of HIIT include improved aerobic capacity, increased metabolism and a much higher calorie burn compared to steady state cardio over the same period of time. You can decrease or increase the intensity as needed depending on your current fitness level and goals.

Yoga and Stretching

Yoga is an excellent workout to do on rest days. The various poses and stretches can promote strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Depending on what type of yoga you’re doing, there can be a significant cardio component as well. As an added bonus, yoga may help reduce stress levels.

No matter which type of yoga you choose to do, be sure to focus on your breath throughout the exercises for best results. Try taking a few deep breaths into each pose before transitioning on to the next one – this will help increase your focus and really hit your core muscles.

Stretching at home is another great option for cardio on rest days. Simple stretching exercises can loosen up any tight muscles while increasing circulation throughout the body – making it easier to get back into intense workouts after a day of rest. Be sure to stretch all major muscle groups during each session in order to reap the full benefits of this activity!

Precautions to Take When Doing Cardio on Rest Days

Doing cardio on rest days can be beneficial for some people, as it can help maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve cardiovascular health. However, it is important to take some precautions to avoid overtraining and injury. Knowing when to take rest days and when to engage in moderate cardio activity on those days can go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals.

Let’s explore what precautions need to be taken when performing cardio on rest days:

Don’t Overdo It

On days that you don’t strength train (rest days), low-intensity cardio should be used as a way to recover. If you’re feeling up for it, you can also take a rest day and do a low-intensity cardio session. The key is to make sure that your activity level remains low so that your muscles and joints don’t become overworked. It’s important to note that doing too much cardio can lead to overtraining and interfere with muscle recovery, so it’s essential to find the right balance.

Here are some preventive measures one should take when adding light cardiovascular exercise on rest days:

  • Keep the duration of your cardio session short – Aim for 20 to 40 minutes per training session instead of going overboard with too much time.
  • Stay at a low intensity – Working at a moderate intensity could interfere with muscle recovery, catabolism and put undue stress on the body in its rest state.
  • Keep the intensity constant throughout your workout – To avoid an increase in cortisol levels, maintain the same intensity throughout your session— no sprinting or high-Intensity intervals here!
  • Alternate between low and high intensity – You can alternate between lower and higher intensities of aerobic activity like walking or biking in order to prevent boredom or burnout due to monotony of low-intensity sessions.

Following these precautionary measures will help ensure that your workouts are not only productive but also free from burning out due to overexertion or underresting.

Listen to Your Body

When doing cardio on your rest days, it is important to listen to your body and respect rest days for the purpose of recovery. Many people think that fit athletes can push through fatigue and muscle soreness, but overtraining can lead to injury and stress-related illnesses. Avoid getting into the habit of doing too much, too soon.

Make sure you allow yourself enough time for proper recovery by taking a variety of rest days throughout your training program. If you notice any signs or symptoms of exhaustion or overtraining, be sure to pay attention and adjust accordingly. Signs may include physical fatigue, irritability, mood swings, decreased performance or appetite changes. It is always best practice to consult with a medical professional if you experience any unusual changes in your health or physical performance during exercise.

Also remember that while many people prefer high intensity interval training (HIIT) as a way to get their cardio on rest days, there are other options that don’t have such an aggressive approach on the body like low-impact exercise such as walking or yoga which can help manage any lingering fatigue from tough workouts and allow you to recover in a more gentle manner.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is one of the most important precautions to take when you are doing cardio on rest days. Your body needs adequate water intake throughout your workout to perform at its best. For example, if you become dehydrated, it will decrease your body temperature and reduce the efficiency of your muscles during exercise.

Therefore, to stay out of danger and maintain optimal performance during intense cardio on rest days, it is essential to drink plenty of fluids such as water or sports drinks. Additionally, choosing drinks that contain electrolytes can help replenish minerals lost through sweat and ensure proper hydration.


To conclude, you can do cardio on rest days as a way to work your body in different ways and to add variety. However, it’s important to remember that rest is an essential part of any fitness program and should be taken seriously for optimal results. Listening to your body is key when deciding if and how much cardio you should do on rest days.

  • If it feels like too much or if your fatigue won’t go away, take a day off from exercise entirely or opt for some gentle stretches.
  • When done properly, incorporating cardio into your routine on rest days can be very beneficial for performance, recovery, and overall well-being.