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By: Lisa Payne

If you don’t work out, you don’t make progress towards your fitness goals. If you don’t make time for rest, you limit your progress towards those fitness goals. So, how do you decide when to get moving and when to take a rest day?

Workouts are physically demanding and cause stress on the heart, lungs, muscles, joints and the rest of the body. Rest is needed to heal the body and to provide energy to complete your daily tasks.

Make time for rest if you experience the following: 

Take a Rest Day If You’re … 

Overly Sore

Lifting weights causes microscopic muscle tears. Muscle soreness felt during or immediately after a workout is called acute muscle soreness. Delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is experienced 1 to 2 days after a tough workout. However, if you’re not getting adequate rest and maintaining both a balanced diet and workout plan, that soreness could become chronic and lead to injury**. 

Injured

No one likes to be sidelined by an injury. But exercise may exacerbate injuries and create new ones. It’s best to follow your doctor’s advice on how to care for your injury. 

If you get injured during exercise, check to see how bad the injury is before continuing. If you can’t continue at full capacity, sit this one out and take time to rest and heal.

This Is When You Should Be Taking a Rest Day

Sick

Muscling through being sick isn’t going to help anyone. A good rule of thumb is if you’re experiencing cold symptoms above the neck like a headache, congestion or sore throat, it’s okay to exercise. But if your symptoms are below the neck and include chest congestion, vomiting or fever, stay in bed. Consult your physician to see what’s best for you.

Sleep Deprived

Exercising after erratic or less-than-normal sleep may not provide you with enough energy to complete your workout. Rather than hitting that early morning spin class following four hours of sleep, stay in bed and go to the gym after work.

Overtrained

Doing more is most certainly not always ideal. When your body isn’t getting enough rest, overuse injuries, moodiness, insomnia, digestive issues, chronic soreness and inflammation are all signs you’re overtraining**.

When you’re on the fitness motivation train, it’s easy to want to exercise all the time. But once you recognize that rest days are sometimes your more productive days, you’ll achieve a more balanced, healthier path to succeeding in your goals.

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.