I never thought I would say this, but I have truly developed a passion for fitness in the last few years. Although my childhood was largely spent trying to avoid running or any physical activities outside of competitive horseback riding at all costs, I’ve evolved as an adult. I can now say I genuinely love to be active.
That’s great except for the fact that my love of activity means that at any given time, I’m trying to fit the following into my weekly workout schedule:
- Marathon training
- Barre classes
- Strength training
- Swimming (hypothetically)
- Kayaking or paddleboarding
There’s an activity missing from that list – rest. Many runners or fitness enthusiasts have a designated day or days of the week that are specifically for the purpose of resting and recovering, but I don’t. I know that rest days are important, but I can’t bring myself to schedule them. Why? Because life happens. I may have two week periods where I work out, in some form or fashion, every day because I am feeling great and have the time to do so. Then, I might have a family emergency come up and not have time to fit a work out in. Or I might feel sick or achy and need to take a few days off. Knowing that I’ve taken the opportunity to be active as much as possible when I can (and when I want to) allows me to take unplanned rest days with confidence, knowing I’m doing a good thing for my body and my sanity.
How do you know when you should take a rest day?
- You’re experiencing some type of lingering pain when you run or workout that isn’t going away
- Working out would cause you more stress than it would relieve
- You’re feeling sick or exhausted
- You’re not noticing as many improvements in your fitness as you did before
- Your recovery heart rate is still elevated from a hard workout