Picture Source: freedigitalphotos: Ambro
It is common to push ourselves to exercise and think that more is always better. Often when you are starting out with exercise you can push and push and only get better. After a while though this really starts to wear your body down. If you have been working out for longer than 6 months regularly, it may be time for a rest.
The harder you work out the more rest you will need. If you do not do high intensity training regularly you will not need to rest very often, a few weeks a year should be fine. If you do train with high intensity on a regular basis then it would be wise to have a week off every month or two.
Taking time off can make it seem like you are going in reverse towards your goals to get fit. The reality is that long term health is compromised by doing too much exercise and your health will suffer if you constantly push it past its ability to recover. You will come back stronger, healthier and feeling much better after taking a week off from the gym. You will not lose any fitness in a week and generally it takes at least a month to even begin losing any of your fitness level.
How to know if you need a week off
It is better to take time off exercise before you need it, but here are a few signs you may need some rest:
As with many chronic problems, the symptoms of doing too much exercise are very similar to any situation where you are stressing your body too much. It is difficult to be aware of the signs so it is better to take time off on a regular basis anyway to ensure you are not putting your body through unnecessary stress.
How to take a week off
Taking a week off does not mean you are completely stopping your healthy lifestyle. You are avoiding intense exercise and giving your body the rest it needs. When you take a week off consider these points below:
Continue to be active
Taking a week off doesn’t mean being completely inactive. Keep moving by going on a daily walk, stretching, foam rolling, yoga the list goes on. Keep all activity moderate and do not work to anywhere near failure. You can even do your weights routine if you like, but only do about half the weight you would normally use and half the overall repetitions. It is a good idea to keep exercising in a minimal way to keep the habit of exercise going.
Re-evaluate your exercise
This week off is a good time to have a look at what your current exercise regime is. Should you do more, less, the same? Maybe you do not enjoy what you are doing and it could be altered slightly so that it better suits your lifestyle. Take a look at what you have been doing and make sure it is right for you.
Keep eating healthy – not a week off eating well
When we take time off activity our diet can often slip too. Use this week off exercise as a chance to ensure your diet is going well. Similarly to exercise, maybe some foods are not the best for you and your goals. You can also try eating a small amount less as you are not exercising much but try to still eat as well as possible.
Try a new sport of fun fitness activity
A week off is a great time to spend your exercise time doing something fun. Play squash with a friend, go bowling, get a massage, go for a hike or try out any number of activities. You will be keeping your body moving and might even find a new hobby to enjoy.
There you have it, a week off and coming back fitter, healthier and stronger. Give it a go from time to time and you will feel much better for it.
Thank you for reading!
Do you regularly take time off exercise?
Do you feel better after the time off?