It’s Okay To Take Rest Day: 6 Ways to Know When It’s Time to Give Yourself a Break

21 Aug

We all need days off– to let our muscles recover and repair and to mentally give ourselves a break from the routine. Most people schedule their rest days into their week. But, how do you know if you need one?

1)      You feel the “twinge” that something isn’t right: I mentioned yesterday that on Sunday when I was working out my lower back started not feeling right. I continued my workout as low impact but high intensity as possible, and when I didn’t see much positive progress with it yesterday I made it a rest day. It’s okay to switch around when your rest day is based on when your body is asking for it.

2)      You’re lethargic or you have trouble sleeping: Sometimes, becoming overly lethargic throughout the day or not being able to sleep soundly at night is an indicator of over training.

3)      You absolutely dread working out: Now, there’s a difference between the usual “ugh I don’t want to get out of bed and go running this morning!” and the absolute dread associated with exercise burn out. Make sure you’re sure that it’s the later before you give yourself a rest day—and don’t let it turn into a regular excuse.

4)      Progress has slowed significantly: This may seem counter intuitive but sometimes if your progress has slowed or come to a halt it might be that your body needs a rest.

5)      You’re sick: If you’re suffering from a terrible cold or other illness, it’s okay to give yourself some time off to heal. Just make sure that as soon as you’re feeling better you get back into it!

6)      You’re becoming obsessed: Remember it’s about balance. If you are overdoing it and exercising is all you can think about, it might be time to give yourself a break and reconnect with your friends, families, and other hobbies or interests you may have neglected.

This all comes down to listening to your body! And, as always, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have. Remember, just because you took one day off doesn’t mean you’re going to fall off the wagon completely. Rest days should be a part of your regular exercise routine. You can also do active recovery on those days, like light walking, stretching, or yoga.

How often do you take rest days? 

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One Response to “It’s Okay To Take Rest Day: 6 Ways to Know When It’s Time to Give Yourself a Break”

  1. leannenalani August 21, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Great post! I’ve overtrained before and my body gets really weird. It effects my mood and behavior. Right now I do 5-6 days a week. I definitely agree that working out while sick may not be the best idea, but it can be so hard to get back into the swing of things after being sick for a week.

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