Leg workouts are important for several reasons, yet they are sometimes neglected in favor of upper-body workouts. Read on to take a look at some of the reasons you should work your legs daily, the benefits, and when it’s okay to take a break.
Why you shouldn’t skip leg day
It’s important to stay consistent with your leg workouts since these large muscles are an integral part of your overall fitness. Strong leg muscles keep your body balanced, which isn’t possible if you focus solely on your upper body.
Lower-body muscles create a strong, stable foundation. You utilize lower-body strength to do all types of movements, including upper-body movements such as throwing, batting, or reaching overhead.
You are certainly aware of your primary heart and how it pumps blood through your body. But did you know that your body has a second heart? It’s your calf muscles!
Many specialists refer to the calf muscle as “the secondary heart” because it plays a crucial role in our body’s circulatory system.
Your calf muscle, which is located at the back of your lower leg, pumps blood out of your leg and back to your heart, eliminating toxins through the lungs, kidneys, and liver along the way.
Since the blood is flowing against gravity, sending it towards the heart will take more than a single pump from the heart. For this reason, the body uses the calf muscles to pump blood from your lower legs back to the heart.
The best way to improve circulation is to get moving. Every time the calf muscles contract, it helps blood to flow against gravity. If you don’t move for long periods, blood and toxins will collect in your lower legs and cause swelling.
Leg workouts can stimulate the release of large amounts of hormones. Working your legs helps to produce hormones such as cortisol, testosterone, and human growth hormone (HGH).
Cortisol helps your body to respond to stress and increase fat metabolism.
Testosterone helps your body to repair damaged muscle proteins and build skeletal muscle.
HGH promotes muscle growth, boosts immunity, and boosts fat metabolism.
Single-leg exercises can help you to engage your core muscles, develop better balance, and prevent injury. They also help to promote rehabilitation, since working one side of the body can stimulate the same muscles on the other side of the body.
This indirect stimulation can strengthen an injured area on the opposite side of the body that you’re targeting. When doing unilateral exercises, always start with your non-dominant side.
When you can skip it
Go ahead and skip a leg workout day if you are very sore or have a potential injury.
If you have a cold and are experiencing minor symptoms such as sneezing, a runny or congested nose, or a sore throat, you can still work out. But you should reduce the duration and intensity.
Skip your workout altogether if your symptoms include chest congestion, a stomachache, or a dry cough. Other symptoms that warrant a break include fever, tiredness, or extensive muscle pain.
Pushing yourself too much may slow down your healing trajectory or cause an injury, so take it easy when you’re feeling unwell. Taking time off will help to ensure a speedy recovery.
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