Sticking to regular workouts isn’t the easiest feat to accomplish, so we totally get why many people are tempted to avoid taking a break from working out. Once you’re in the habit, it can feel a little risky to step out of it, even for a day. That said, our bodies need time to rest and repair themselves so we can look and feel fabulous after we’re done kicking our own butts in the gym.
Despite knowing this, some people feel extremely guilty for taking a day to chill, while some fear that the time off will derail their efforts, but here’s the deal: Skipping a workout improves your workout efforts.
So, the next time you’re ready to go, but your body says “no” to another round of squats and lunges, it’s probably not because you’re lazy.
Your body could be telling you it really needs a day off from working out.
1 You’re constantly sore.
Once you get past the initial soreness that occurs when you first begin working out or after you amp up your routine to something more challenging, major soreness shouldn’t be an issue. But if you notice that the discomfort never subsides, it’s definitely a sign that you need to take a day off from working out.
David O. Draper, Brigham Young University professor and director of the sports medicine/athletic training graduate program, explained to WebMD how to know when you’re too sore to keep exercising.
2You’re exhausted all the time.
Routine workouts are supposed to leave you feeling energized, but you’ll know it’s time for a rest day when that extra pep in your step bails on you after exercising.
Also, if you feel sluggish or drained during your workouts, it could be a sign that you’re overexercising. In that case, do yourself and your body a favor by taking a rest day (or two or three, if necessary).
3You’re always moody.
Even if you’re a fitness enthusiast by nature, too much exercise can cause you to become irritable. According to Livestrong, this could be the body’s way of letting you know it needs a break.
As the site notes,
4You’re not sleeping well (despite being so tired).
Hitting the gym on a consistent basis without allowing your body time to recover could negatively impact your sleep quality. Proper rest after a workout is totally necessary to get the most out of exercising without compromising your health.
For beginning exercises, Shape recommends resting every third day, whereas more experienced exercisers can benefit from taking rest days once a week.
First of all, it’s crucial to know the difference between normal post-workout soreness and a possible injury. Primarily, soreness will subside after a few days, but an injury typically will not improve as much with time. Also, an injury may be accompanied by sharp pain, whereas soreness is more of an exhausted, burning sensation, SELF reports.
However, if you notice that a nagging pain has remained with you for more than a few days or soreness has intensified with no changes in your workout, it could be a sign that a break from exercising is necessary, along with medical attention.
6 You missed a period.
Experts credit exercise with making some of the most awful period symptoms vanish (buh-bye, cramps and junk food cravings), but too much working out can make your menstrual cycle disappear completely.
Known as amenorrhea, or the absence of your period, this condition could be brought on by overtraining that causes a drop in estrogen levels, which could lead to osteoporosis.
Fitness is of the utmost importance, but it’s also pertinent that you pay close attention to signals your body sends you before, during, and after your workouts. Taking a break from exercising won’t negatively impact your progress, but ignoring your body’s need to rest and recover definitely will.