Stop Exercising & Get Fit
Did that get your attention?
If you're like us, taking time away from exercise is an exercise in guilt management. Of course, there are sick days and family emergencies, even work snafoos that might necessarily keep one from the gym -- or from your BB class -- here and there.
Then there are those days. You know those days. They are the days when you wake up with a headache or you get caught up emailing an old friend and you just don't make it to your usual workout appointment with yourself. Those days are the guilty days. Like that last glass of red wine, those days seem so appealing and often, in retrospect, are not worth all the regret... If you've planned to work out, we recommend you stick to the plan. This isn't to say a day off is regrettable.
Days off should be built into your exercise program and adhered to as diligently as days on.
Days off can be great days to go for a walk, take the kids to the playground, or just get some housework done with that extra couple of hours. During this blissful respite from your ordinary workout routine, your body is doing some miraculous things.
- It is repairing its muscle fibers to build them bigger and stronger and to prepare you for your next strength training workout.
- It is stocking up on carbohydrates to fuel you for your next walk or jog.
- It is resting and relaxing all those tight muscles and tendons.
- It is rehydrating.
- It is, in essence, getting fitter.
As you play with the kids or just snuggle with the iPad, your ordinarily active body is luxuriating in some much-deserved time out to process all the work you've done over the last few days. Studies have even shown that competitive athletes such as gymnasts, who often train seven days a week for several weeks or months on end, actually gain strength and muscle mass when forced to rest during times of injury. You don't have to be that extreme.
How do you take a rest day?
Don't wait until an injury or overwhelming fatigue forces you to rest. Plan at least one or two days off every week and you'll enjoy those resting gains on a regular basis so you can get right back at it in a day or two.
Rest days don't have to be Netflix marathons. You might take a long walk. Go for a swim. Take a low-key yoga class or do a few sun salutations at home. Choose something restorative and kind to your body.
When the rest is over you will head back to the gym, the yoga studio, or to BB with a clear head and a ready body.
You might even get a bit of housework done in the process...