Posted on Saturday 11th of November 2017 at 06:04 AM
7 legitimate reasons you should skip the gym today — and not feel even a little bit guilty about it
Although there's no question about the benefits of getting in a regular workout, there's often an internal debate about when it's OK to skip your exercise routine for a day or two.
Just as there are people who don't get the daily recommendation of physical activity, ACSM exercise physiologist Jim White told INSIDER that there are just as many people who overdo it at the gym. White said that overexercising — or even ercising under certain circumstances — can lead to extreme muscle soreness and other problems.
To avoid these issues, personal trainer Miriam Fried told INSIDER that listening to your body is the best way to determine when you should skip the gym.
When you finally listen to your body — and not the pressure from society or yourself — you'll find that there are plenty of times when you don't need to justify skipping your workout. From sore muscles to a doctors note, here are some legitimate reasons to pass on the gym.
When your doctor says not to.
This seems like an obvious example, but Fried sees people ignore this advice all the time. Instead of going against the doctor's orders, he suggested you use your time to stretch other muscles.
"Read some good books, pick up a skill, spend more time with loved ones," Fried said. "There's pretty much nothing else you can do in this scenario except wait it out, but it's important that you do so."
When you've had a drink.
You decided to hit up happy hour instead of the gym, and that's totally OK. But it's best to push your workout to a different day instead of trying to fit something in after you've had a drink.
Exercise physiologist Irene Lewis-McCormack told Women's Health that not only will booze effect your overall performance, it will also dehydrate you and put you at a greater risk for injury. Your safest bet is to plan your workout and happy hour separately.
When you're sore.
White said you should take anywhere from three to five days off to recover from extreme muscle soreness, which first-time exercisers are especially prone to.
"If they are starting off and they're beginners or they haven't worked out for a while that soreness can last quite a long time," White said. "Or if they work the muscle a little bit differently it can be sorer than usual."
The difference between extreme soreness and regular soreness is when you feel it. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) develops 12 to 24 hours after the exercise, while acute soreness happens during the actual activity.
If you're feeling sore days after your workout, you should take a rest or recovery day. Fried recommends foam rolling and stretching, or going for a light walk.
"Rest is equally as important as the time you spend in the gym, so don't let your hard work go to waste by overdoing it," she said. "If you can't walk up the stairs or pull your hoodie on without wincing, it might be time to give those poor muscles some rest and recovery time."
When you're sick.
If you're feeling under the weather, don't hesitate to skip your workout for some extra sleep and rest.
"Exercise is incredibly taxing on your body, so if you're feeling under the weather, an intense workout will often make you feel worse," Fried said. He noted, however, that light exercise is probably OK if you have the sniffles or a minor cold.
Fried added that if you are feeling feverish, lethargic, or sick to your stomach, you should stay home and recover.
"The gym isn't going anywhere, and your fellow gym-goers will appreciate you leaving your germs at home instead of all over the squat rack," she said.
When you think you might be injured.
There's a difference between being sore and being injured.
"Muscle soreness is not a sharp stabbing pain," White said. "It's not a radiating pain that you would get from any type of nerve damage, there's no tingling."
If you do experience stabbing or radiating pain exercising could make things worse. "Most ailments will probably go away after a few days of rest, but taking the risk to workout while injured could aggravate the injury and leave you unable to exercise for an extended period of time," Fried said. "It's just not worth it."
Fried noted that, again, the best course of action is to get checked out by your doctor if the pain persists.
When you're on vacation.
Skipping your workout to relax on the beach isn't something to feel guilty about. In fact, research shows that you can actually lose weight on vacation due to lower stress levels and intuitive eating.
Diet aside, Fried noted that not all fitness professionals would agree with taking time off from the gym for your vacation or a holiday.
"When your choices are 'spend time with family' or 'hit the weights for a few hours', you don't need to choose the latter," she said. Fried also suggested asking yourself if you'd regret missing an experience to workout instead.
"If the answer is yes, remind yourself that the gym will always be there, but this experience may not," she said. She also mentioned that you could find other ways to be active that don't detract from time spent with loved ones or a once in a lifetime opportunity. Walking, swimming, and dancing are simple ways to get your heart rate up and break a sweat.
When you're bored.
Your exercise of choice might naturally get stale. White recommended taking an hour or so to assess what's going on when this happens. He specifically said to consider your goals, your schedule, and any life stressors that may be impeding your desire to exercise.
If this isn't a regular occurrence, White said taking the day off is OK. "If it's just a random day and you don't feel like working out, then I think definitely taking the day off is fine," he said. "But if this is becoming a continual thing and a problem then I recommend hiring a registered dietitian or personal trainer to even devise a plan."
Although regular exercise is good for you, your overall health trumps any misguided notion that you need to be working out constantly. This could lead to overtraining, injury, and might turn you off to exercise as a whole. Instead of tossing the whole concept out the window, take some time off and come back motivated to stay healthy.
This acticle first appeared on Insider. Click here to read the original article.