It seems contradictory to post about how to overcome inactivity only to follow it up by writing about…inactivity.
It’s not though, and here’s why.
Once we get moving, and we make daily fitness a habit, it can be hard to stop. It’s especially hard to willingly plan to stop.
For some reason, we fear rest days.
Most likely, this fear stems from a fear of regression. If I take today off, I’ll gain back all the weight I’ve lost/I’ll lose all my strength gains/I won’t continue the habit of daily exercise.
One rest day won’t cause a setback and might actually cause you to lurch forward!
When you take a rest day, you’re allowing your body and mind a chance to grow, replenish, and recharge. And a planned rest day is much better than the alternative: Pushing through doing moremoremoremore until wham-o you’re burned out and overtrained and need weeks to recover.
More is not always better:
- The workouts you do initiate a break-down sequence of events in your body, and while there’s value in moving when you’re sore/tired, your body can only repair itself while at rest. Typically, your body can recover on a good night’s sleep…but chances are, those can be hard to come by! A full day off of your regularly scheduled fitness routine lets your body get busy mending the damage from the days before so you can come back stronger.
- Your mind needs a change of pace. Give it a day off of strategizing pacing, bar math, calculating where to place your steps on the trail, making and missing lifts.
- You’ll learn how best your body operates. Maybe 3 days on 1 day off is where your body thrives. Maybe you can do 5 days on 2 days off with one of those ‘off’ days being light active recovery. Maybe you do best with 2 days on 1 day off. Every body is different, with different repair rates. Play with it! Figure out what balance works best for your body and mind.
- Overtraining and burnout are real, and they are no fun. They can be absolutely prevented. You know that saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Well, a day of conscientious rest is worth a week or more of forced rest from overtraining.
Signs of overtraining and burn-out include: inability to sleep, change in appetite, lack of motivation for training/exercise, increased resting heart rate, irritability, depression, increase in injuries, and incessant muscle soreness.
Don’t let it come to that. Keep your fitness and exercise routine a positive, energizing experience by giving yourself the break you deserved. Plan it, earn it, enjoy it!