When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, exercise is undoubtedly important. But is there ever a time when it’s best to skip a workout session or two? While it may sound surprising, sometimes that’s exactly what you should do. If you’re trying to reach your optimal health, exercise isn’t always the answer. Here are a few of those occasions when it is wise to temporarily forgo the workout.
When those last ten pounds stick
Many of us have been there. You’re on a diet, you’re exercising regularly and you’re shedding pounds. You’re feeling great, confident and proud of yourself. But then all of a sudden you hit a wall. You’re just ten pounds away from reaching your ideal weight, but for some reason the love handles won’t budge. Now all the enthusiasm you had when you first started this fitness program has gone. It has been replaced by constant self-criticism, stress and frustration that you can’t reach your goal.
So why does this happen? One word - cortisol. When you become stressed, your adrenals release cortisol, an important hormone that helps the body maintain homeostasis. There is nothing wrong with cortisol in and of itself. But when it is released by stress, it can have negative consequences. Some of these include overeating, a decrease in your body’s ability to burn calories, and the tendency for your body to store fat.
To prevent cortisol levels from causing your body to hold onto excess weight, temporarily change your focus from achieving your weight loss goals, and loosen up instead. Skip a workout or two, take some time to reflect and find ways to enjoy exercise again. When you’ve found a way to bring positivity back into your exercise routine, you may just be surprised at how much easier it is for the pounds to melt off on their own.
When you’re sick (usually)
When it comes to being sick, there’s a bit of a gray area regarding whether or not you should exercise. The answer is actually yes and no, depending on what type of illness you have.
Have a fever or the flu? That means you should skip your workout. In these situations, your immune system is down, and your body needs to put its energy into healing. Adding the additional stress of exercise can make it harder for it to do so. Additionally, when you have a flu or fever, your body is short on fluids. Obviously exercise makes you lose more fluids, and this is another reason why to avoid it.
So if you’re sick, when is it alright to exercise? If you have a common cold, many experts agree that it is okay to perform exercise of moderate intensity. Unlike exercising while suffering from a fever or the flu, exercise with a cold shouldn’t make you sicker.
When you feel depleted
If you’ve had a busy week, are overly stressed, or are having problems with your personal relationships, sometimes exercise is not the answer. Really, it comes down to your overall energy levels.
So, how can you tell when you’re too depleted to exercise? There are a couple common signals: like if you feel tired all the time or if your workout is leaving you feeling exhausted and drained for the entire day. Both of these situations are signals to either skip your exercise for the time being, or switch up your routine. If you normally perform high intensity workouts, then this may be a good time to do exercise in a way that is less punishing on the body. For example you can do some stretching, light yoga or take your dog for a walk instead.
When exercise becomes a chore
Exercise is not only great for our bodies, but it can also be great for our spirits. It can make you feel good about yourself and have a positive impact on your disposition. All of these things will help you lose weight and provide a boost to your health. However, if exercise has become a chore, it’s not doing your mental or physical health any favors.
Like many of the solutions mentioned above, a good way to combat this is to skip an exercise session or two and reflect. Ask yourself, “what can I do to instill enthusiasm back into my fitness routine? How can I make it more exciting and fun? Are there different exercises I should try? Should I exercise less or more?” These are all questions that are worth asking and can help once you return to regular exercise. Alternatively, consider getting in touch with one of our health and fitness experts. We can help you achieve your fitness goals and make it enjoyable in the process.