Getting yourself to work out can be a huge challenge, but sometimes, getting yourself not to work out can be equally as hard.
Are you ever in a good workout groove and don’t want to take a day off because you want to obtain your fitness goals quicker? Or you’re scared your fitness will fall off if you miss a day of exercise? More exercise means more fitness, right?
When you exercise on a daily basis without letting your body rest, your workouts are less effective and can even cause injury. When working out, you are tearing your body tissue, so there needs to be optimal time for this tissue to heal before exercising again.
Just like you need study breaks in school to give your brain a rest, you need exercise breaks to give your muscles a rest.
So, how do you know if you need rest? It differs from person to person, and the type of exercise you’re doing on a regular basis will also play a factor in how much rest you need.
Whether you’re a runner, lifter or anything in between, there’s a general rule of thumb I use to decide if I need rest: If I feel like I need it, I probably do.
We don’t give ourselves enough credit sometimes. You are the best indicator of your body’s needs, and if your muscles are weary and you feel extra fatigue, you probably need some rest. Even signs such as irritability and a few bad workouts in a row can be indicators that you need to take a break.
But what exactly does rest look like? While literally putting your feet up all day without any movement would be nice, it’s definitely not realistic and is not the best way to rest your muscles. Rest days are about recovery, and just like when you take medicine if you’re sick, you also need to aid your muscles in healing.
Low-impact activities are key to optimizing your rest days. Stretching, light walking, foam rolling, low-intensity yoga and ice baths are some great ways to help your muscles recover properly.
Rest is equally important to your overall health as your exercise, so if you have to ask yourself when your last rest day was, it’s guaranteed you need one.