Taking a Break From Exercise

We all know that being inactive can harm our health, but it’s crucial to be able to balance exercise with rest. When you’re working hard to achieve fitness goals, or you’re making an effort to stay in shape, your body needs time to recover and rebuild. There may be days when it’s best to avoid the gym. If you’re wondering how to work out a schedule that suits you, below are some thoughts if you’re thinking of taking a break from exercise.

If you’re under the weather, take a day off the gym. While you want to include things in your life to boost immunity and prevent illness in the first place, working out when you already have symptoms could make you feel worse. In my article, Working Out When You Are Sick, the “neck rule” is explained where your decision to work out is based on whether your ailment is above or below the neck.

Woman with headache

Using the neck rule, if you are feeling signs and symptoms above the neck (i.e. a mild cold and no fever, have nasal congestion, minor sore throat, runny nose or sneezing), then usually you will be fine with mild to moderate physical activity just as long as you take it easy by reducing the intensity and length of the workout. On the other hand, if you have signs and symptoms below the neck (i.e. upset stomach, hacking cough or congestion in your chest), you should avoid exercising.

If you just generally feel lousy, rest up, drink plenty of fluids, and consider taking over the counter medications. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and resting up from your physical routine.

Keep in mind, while your decision is based on how you’re feeling and your body, when working out while sick, you are also increasing the chance of spreading germs to others by using different equipment. If you decide to work out, please be courteous by wiping down the equipment you’ve used afterwards. I am certain everyone around you will appreciate the gesture.

 – Injury
Knee injuryMany of us find that we hit the ground running with a new fitness regime, and once you’ve got a goal in your sight, and you’re enjoying working out, you may find it difficult to take a break. While exercise has incredible benefits for your physical and mental health, there is such a thing as over training.

Exercising too frequently and pushing yourself too hard can result in a trip to the urgent care center. Build your fitness gradually and always warm up and cool down to lower the risk of injury. If you feel a twinge, or you think you might have pulled or strained something, don’t carry on and try and push through the pain. Get your injury checked out, and go from there. You may be advised to take a few days off.

 – Exhaustion
Exercise is a brilliant natural remedy for stress, and it can provide an energy boost if you’re feeling low or you’re lacking enthusiasm or motivation. However, it can also put a strain on your body. If you’re really exhausted, and you feel like your body is about to crash, get some much-needed rest. Eat well, stay hydrated, and try and keep on top of stress. If you’re struggling, and you feel like you’ve tried everything, don’t hesitate to speak with your health provider.

 – Taking a day off after consecutive days of training
You know your body better than anyone else. You may find that if you’ve already trained three or four days in a row, you need to take a break. This will give your body chance to heal and prepare for your next session. If you’re an active person and you can’t bear the thought of putting your feet up, opt for a restorative activity like yoga or Pilates. It’s beneficial to have days where you don’t go all-out with your program to give your body a chance to recharge and to keep your energy levels up.

This is a contributed affiliate post.

If you’re making progress, especially with a new fitness plan, you might be reluctant to take a break. However, giving your body a day off can be hugely beneficial. If you’re under the weather, got an injury, suffering from fatigue, or been training really hard, taking a break from exercise might be just what you need.

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