Yes, really. I know the idea of me suggesting you should skip a workout might make you want to scratch your head a little. You’re probably thinking “OMG Kayla, what??” Honestly though, skipping your workout (occasionally) can actually be good for you. Don’t get too excited — I’m not saying you should give up that gym membership or toss aside your workout guide! Instead, I’m going to talk about all the reasons you should avoid overtraining and enjoy regular rest days as part of your healthy lifestyle plan.
Your immune system has time to recover
Excessive training can really wreak havoc on the body’s immune system. Think about how easy it is to get sick when you‘ve been under mental stress and spreading yourself too thin. The same can apply to physically training too much. If your body doesn’t have a chance to rest, your immune system may not have the strength to defend against germs, which may lead to illness.
Rest can help to repair muscle
It’s completely normal to experience a little fatigue in your muscles after a workout. Muscles contract and extend naturally during movement, and this is amplified during more intense exercise. As they adapt to particular workouts, your muscles may develop micro tears and feel sore (I blogged about post-workout muscle soreness a little while back). These micro tears repair themselves as your body rests, so your muscles can grow stronger. That’s part of the reason rest is so important.
It can give your fitness a jolt
Without enough recovery time, your body simply may not have the resources or ability to complete your workouts. Instead, your body kind of enters its own protective mode, which can slow your progress. Taking some time off for rest allows your body to recover, so you’ll be ready to jump back into training again when your next session rolls around.
You’ll have renewed focus
Just like any other activity, workouts should be varied so you don’t get bored. That’s why my Sweat With Kayla app has a range of different exercises targeting all muscle ranges. Spending all of your free time planning for workouts and then actually doing them can lead you into a bit of burnout. Skipping a session now and then can have you feeling reinvigorated and ready to jump back into your workouts with more enthusiasm. Even the so-called ‘runner’s high’ can disappear if you’re pushing yourself too hard. Taking the occasional break from a regular fitness plan is good for both your physical and mental health.
A break gives you time for some R&R
Not having to visit the gym or workout at home gives you a bit of free time. Take the opportunity to catch up with friends or relax at home with a nice soak in the bathtub. A break from your regular workout schedule means you can focus on something else you enjoy, even if that means an hour or two in front of the TV. Sure, you don’t want to make it a regular thing, but giving yourself a break every now and then is fine.
The occasional skipped workout can actually be helpful to your overall health plan. While you might feel a twinge of guilt or think it makes you a ‘slacker’, as you can see, taking a break can certainly have its benefits. Rest is important for the health of your brain, your body and your mood. As I always say, LISTEN to your body — if it’s screaming out for some down time, you can definitely skip one workout without feeling bad about it!
Love, Kayla xx