First of all, before I explain the controversial title, I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a great holiday. And I hope everyone managed to resist the pull of materialism over the weekend. [I am always amazed at how quickly we turn from gratitude for what matters most in life to wanting more stuff. But, I digress.]
In my last post, I shared my habit tracker for last month, which showed that I exercised on all but three days. [Exercise is the red line on the tracker below.]
Some people probably wouldn’t notice or care how much I exercise, but other people [especially any personal training clients of mine] would be thinking But you need a rest day!!!
So, let’s talk about exercise and rest.
There are times when full rest and recovery is absolutely necessary, such as after an injury or when you are really sick [like “can’t get out of bed” sick, not the sniffles]. However, in our super-sedentary society, rest days often mean sitting on the couch and not moving all day and that is really bad for us because we all need some regular movement every day.
Which is why, I don’t do rest days.
Instead of “rest days,” I prefer the term “down days” because I’m not actually sitting on my bum all day. Instead, I’m just lowering the amount of exercise [or the intensity] for a day. So instead of running five miles and doing thirty minutes of weight training and finishing with plyometric HIIT intervals, I might walk a few miles, or hike up hill on the treadmill, or go for a family bike ride. I still choose intentional movement, but I lower the intensity and give my body some variety.
That being said, it is possible to over work your muscles and lead to damage or injury, so I do stand by a strict rest day from weight lifting to allow the muscles to heal and rebuild appropriately.
I say, ixnay the whole rest day idea to prevent ourselves from feeling like we deserve a day to be couch potatoes. There’s a lot of joy and peace and introspection and beauty and confidence, not to mention endorphins, to be found in moving our bodies [especially outdoors, surrounded by nature]. I don’t want to miss out on all that for the sake of a rest day. I want to take advantage of that every day. I need that every day.
What do you think? Am I just an overly enthusiastic cardio junkie? Lemme know.