Life is hectic – we all deal with work, family, and relationships while trying our best to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Inevitably, though, we don’t always find it easy to get ourselves to the gym as many times as we’d like to in a week.
But the good news is that every once in a while, it’s not only okay, but actually beneficial to skip out on your workout. Although it’s suggested that you should try to get 40 minutes of vigorous exercise in at least three times a week, there are a few totally legitimate reasons to skip out on the gym session when you’re running low on fuel and need a second to revitalize your body. When in doubt, here are the three things that make skipping a workout here and there the smart choice.
If you’re fatigued.
Not getting enough sleep at night? Pulling all-nighters? Consistently waking up over-tired? This is when it is okay to grant your body and mind rest rather than pushing yourself through a workout. Sleep deprivation strongly affects your mental and physical performance, and studies show that extreme metabolic agitations that accompany sleep deprivation lead to an increase in insulin resistance and a decrease in glucose tolerance. And if you frequently find yourself extremely fatigued, you should stop the strenuous exercise and check in with a doctor.
If you’ve been overtraining.
Lifting weights causes microscopic tears and shallow lacerations in the fiber and connective tissue of the muscles. These minuscule tears accumulate in number and cause fatigue, but with enough rest and ample nutrients the muscles are able to repair themselves within a week. On the plus side, it’s this series of actions that actually helps build and strengthen muscles. On the other hand, if you don’t give your body the time that it needs to rest and repair, you put yourself at risk for injury and can prevent the results that you are working so hard for in the first place. So, if you find yourself extremely sore, take an extra day to let the pain subside and allow your muscles to relax. It may actually help you achieve your goals a lot faster in the long run.
If you’ve already been active today.
You don’t need to go to the gym every day to get your blood flowing. Recreational activities like kayaking, hiking, or biking can all count as exercise and keep you fit. Even smaller activities like simple yard work or moving some furniture around the house can be exercises in themselves, and should definitely factor into your calorie burn and fitness for the day. If you have a jam-packed day and don’t have enough time to make it to the gym, relieve the stress of trying to find where to fit a gym trip into your schedule by thinking about what activities you’ve already done that day and try to see how you may have already fulfilled your daily exercise quota naturally.