You’ve started an exercise routine to be healthier and you’re really getting into, but you wake up one morning and your body is like: Nope. Not doing anything today.
It seems counter-intuitive but taking a break from vigorous exercise for a day or two is actually healthy for your body. If you are doing light exercise or starting an exercise routine it may be less necessary, but the more you fatigue your body, the more it needs a break to recover.
Listening to your body and taking a break from exercise is a good thing. It helps your body repair any muscle damage, fatigue, or stress it’s undergone from your most recent workout since the purpose of exercise is to build up your muscles.
Taking a Break but Don’t Stop
Taking a rest day doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising.
If you are doing lighter exercises throughout the week, taking a day to do yoga or going for a walk is fine. But going to the gym and doing even moderate work can be taxing on your body so it’s important to limit any activity to light exercise.
If you are a runner, you don’t have to take a complete break from running, but just change up the routine so your body can rest specific muscle groups. For example: if you do three days of speed interval running, take another three days of hill or distance running, and rest on the seventh day.
If you are particularly motivated, find ways to make the most of your recovery days. If you are taking a leg break with weight lifting, work on your core or your arms instead. Obviously, consult a trainer about what to do on your rest days.
But if you find that you really just want to sit down and relax for the day, then that’s the best thing you could do for yourself. The goal is to not get de-motivated, but stay motivated. If you push your body too hard for too long, then there’s a chance you’ll lose motivation and give up altogether.
So go ahead and give yourself permission to take a day off.
Good for the Body
One thing I’ve noticed from my personal training, it takes at least two days for my body to catch up with whatever new workout I engage in. When I was doing the 100 squat challenge several months ago, it took me two days to notice the burning in my legs. By giving myself a rest day, it allowed my body to catch up with the work I’ve done so it could repair itself for another set of squats.
While I hate taking a break from running, I know that I am helping myself get stronger and better with my running. If I want to keep smashing through my personal goals with running, I have to rest so I can stronger.
What do you like to do on your rest days? What works best to keep you motivated on those days? Comment with your suggestions and ideas below.
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