Fitness fans are being told to sleep-in and stop skimping on protein if they want to get the most out of rest days.

The team behind health and fitness site Vivotion.com say that regularly taking days off from intense exercise is imperative to achieving fitness goals.

Rest day are not only crucial for giving your body time to recover from workouts – they also help your muscles become bigger and stronger as they rebuild.

If you’re just feeling a little sore, consider recovery activities like walking or swimming, but if you’re feeling completely wiped out don’t be afraid to kick your feet up and give yourself a day of complete rest and recuperation.

A spokesperson for Vivotion.com said: “If you’ve been working to your maximum capacity every day, or if you’ve simply been keeping up with a good routine of fairly low impact exercises, you want to make sure to give your body a break from time to time.

“If all your body gets is physical stress without rest, you can reach the point of diminishing returns, or the point at which your fitness progress is stunted.”

Sleep-in

Believe it or not, sleeping is one of the most important parts of all fitness programmes. Getting quality shut-eye both when training and resting is crucial – the whole point of a rest day is giving your body the opportunity to recuperate, and nothing helps decrease the strain on your systems like loading up on sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for adults 26-64 is 7-9 hours.

Stretch

It’s easy to neglect extensive stretching on rest days, but this activity shouldn’t just be reserved for workouts. Whether you grab the strap in your living room or head to the gym for a yoga class, it’s important to take care of your muscles on your day off.

Foam roll

In an ideal world, everyone would get professional deep-tissue massages regularly, but your bank account might not allow that. Alternatively, you can use a foam roller to massage your tight muscles and break up the lactic acid.

Walk

If you want to loosen up your muscles without straining them, or if you just need to get outside for some fresh air, go for a gentle walk.

Swim

Swimming is a great low-impact exercise option, allowing your body to be weightless, relaxing your joints and stretching your body in ways you wouldn’t be able to on land.

Don’t Skimp on Protein

A lot of people think it’s best to consume protein within 30 minutes of a gruelling workout, but studies show that your body’s ability to utilise protein to build muscle remains elevated for a full 24 hours after a heavy sweat session. Your body is still working to rebuild torn muscle tissue even if you aren’t causing any new damage that day – so eat up that protein!

Hydrate

Drinking water to maintain a hydrated state during training, after exercise, and during recovery is critical to not only performance but also to reducing fatigue, improving your mood, and improving cognitive function. When you’re properly hydrated, your body is functioning as optimally as possible.