If you’re starting to notice your workouts are becoming harder to complete or leaving you exhausted, it might be time to slow down and take a break from physical activity. There are a few signs that might it’s time to take a rest.
- Dreading Workouts
- Persistent Soreness
- Constant Fatigue or Tiredness
- Inability to Progress in Workouts
- Constant Exhaustion
Overtraining can eventually lead to depression or other health problems if you don’t take a break. If you’re noticing any of these signs or it’s been a while since your last rest, slowing down from your workouts has several benefits.
Letting Your Body Rest
Hopefully, you’ve already been resting from your workouts — maybe exercising five or six days, then resting. But working out most of the week with just a couple of days off can still become a grind. This rigorous schedule can slowly drain your strength, leaving you fatigued to a point where a couple of days won’t give your body the rest it needs.
Letting Your Mind Rest
It can be hard to stick to a workout schedule day in and day out. Constantly forcing yourself to get to the gym takes quite a bit of self-motivation and discipline, and a break will relieve some of the pressure. Regularly scheduling some “off” weeks will also give you something to look forward to since you’ll know there is a break from the grind.
The more you work out without a rest, the more likely it is your muscles will be sore and tight. When they’re sore and tight, you become less careful with your technique, which can lead to injuries. Taking a few days off each week can help you avoid getting injured.
What Is a Break, Anyway?
To allow your body time to truly heal, you might consider a break of a few weeks to a few months. While you want to allow your body to heal, you also don’t want your break to be so long that it’s hard for you to get back into your routine afterward. The more signs of overtraining you’ve noticed, the longer of a break will help you. If you’re injured, a longer break can also be helpful.
Now, taking a break doesn’t mean you’re turning into a couch potato for the next two months. What it means is you’ll be working out at a lower intensity to allow your body to rest and heal. For example, if you usually run several days a week, you could consider walking instead. Or if you’re used to swimming every day, you might try water aerobics. Yoga, gentle bike rides, and stretching are all other ways you can keep moving during your break.
After Your Rest
The longer your break is, the harder it’ll be for you to get back to working out. You shouldn’t start with the same workouts and intensity right away. Taking your time will help you safely get back to your previous fitness level without sacrificing your health.
It might feel like you’ve lost the progress you made, but you’ll find that it won’t take long for your body to bounce back. And once you’re back in the routine, you’ll find that you’re able to continue with more energy and enthusiasm than before.