If You Need a Break

Some days you wake up feeling great and can hardly wait to get to your workout.  You have lots of energy and motivation, and you're in good spirits. Being physically fit is easy on those days; you don’t struggle at all with making yourself exercise.

There are some days when you feel the opposite.  You are tired and unmotivated. Working out is the last thing you feel like doing. These are the days when it’s hard to pursue fitness.  

It's wise to expect that you will have days like this. Some days, you can attribute your lack of motivation to laziness, insecurity, or stress. Other days, your body may be telling you to slow it down.

The first thing to discern when you don’t feel like working out is whether you are actually sick or not.  

  • Do you have any symptoms of underlying illness?  
  • Is your throat sore?  
  • Do you have congestion?

It’s a good idea to take your temperature to find out if you have a fever. A fever signals that you have a virus or infection of some kind. If you are sick, then it’s a good idea to take the day off from exercise. Your body is under stress when you are ill and it is working hard to fight the illness. Additionally, you don’t want to spread a virus to any other gym-goers. Germs can spread fast in a gym, and many facilities strongly advocate for staying home if you've got the sniffles.

Exercising will place more stress on your body and perhaps slow down the healing process. Reassess how you feel the next day and decide whether you can resume exercise or if you need an additional rest day.  

Being truly healthy means listening to your body.  It's not a sign of weakness to rest when your body is ill. If you're not sick but just feel unwell, it's okay to take a light day of exercise.  You do not have to go all out every single day.  A gentle walk on the treadmill or even around your neighborhood is fine for days when your energy is lagging. You might even try a slow swim or bike ride.  Just the fact that you are moving a little bit may be enough to perk you up.

If you're feeling down, exercise can release endorphins. Lots of people use exercise as a way to fight the blues. However, if you feel mentally unprepared to tackle the gym, consider taking the day off to work on your well-being.

Having an occasional day of feeling bad and not exercising at all or at low intensity is normal.  But if such days are the rule rather than the exception, you should check your diet and lifestyle to ensure you're not missing out on anything (i.e. sleep, nutrients).


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