Rest days are an important part of any fitness program. Truth be told, they don’t present much of a problem for most people since motivation to exercise at all is usually the problem, not motivation to take a break. Still, we all know people who go whole hog with their fitness program…until they burn out and then give up entirely for a long while.
You have to seek proper balance….balance between too much exercise and not enough. It’s an easy concept but sometimes not so easy to accomplish. It takes thought, attention and commitment. You can use official “programs” as a guide but each of us has different needs and our bodies require varying amounts of down time.
I discovered long ago that I could be successful with a 5 days on, two days off workout program. That fit into my lifestyle when the boys were very young and continues to the present day. I typically squeeze workouts into the week, which leaves the weekends completely free for family activities.
I typically re-assess my program every 8 weeks. If I’ve completed an 8 week block and I feel unenthusiastic about my workouts or my body is tired, I’ll skip a week (doing only cardio and light lifting as I wish) and then go back to my more formal workouts. It works better that way, psychologically, since I always feel like my workouts are on my terms. I can take time off when needed so I don’t get into that “I’m on a never-ending grind” mindset.
Vacations fall under that “my choice” category too. Sometimes I workout a lot when I’m on vacation, sometimes a little and there are times when I don’t do a thing in the way of exercise. I play it by ear. If I want to exercise, I do. If I want to sit on a beach chair with my feet up the whole time, I do. You have to be gentle with yourself if you want to be successful over the long haul.
I was lucky enough to be able to take a little trip to Mexico recently. I visited the gym once and did a light workout, I did my push ups, pull ups and squats daily, I walked along the beach and played in the waves. I did a little swimming and that’s it. It was relaxing and refreshing and now I’m hitting it HARD. It feels great after the break.
Make sure you fit those rest breaks in too!