Stop Exercising & Get Fit

Did that get your attention? If you’re like me, taking time away from exercise is an exercise in guilt management.  Of course, there are sick days and family emergencies, even work snafoos that might necessarily keep one from the gym here and there. Then there are those days.  You know those days.  They are the days when you wake up with a headache or you get caught up emailing an old friend and you just don’t make it to your usual workout appointment with yourself.  Those days are the guilty days.  Like that last glass of red wine, those days seem so appealing and often, in retrospect, are not worth all the regret…  If you’ve planned to work out, my advice is to stick to the plan.  This isn’t to say a day off is regrettable.  Days off should be built into your exercise program and adhered to as diligently as days on. Days off can be great days to go for a walk, go ice skating with the kids or just get some housework done with that extra couple of hours.  During this blissful respite from your ordinary workout routine, your body is doing some miraculous things. It is repairing its muscle fibers to build them bigger and stronger and to prepare you for your next strength training workout.  It is stocking up on carbohydrates to fuel you for your next walk or jog.  It is resting and relaxing all those tight muscles and tendons.  It is rehydrating.  It is, in essence, getting fitter.  As you play with the kids or just catch up on your favourite TV dramas, your ordinarily active body is luxuriating in some much-deserved time out to process all the work you’ve done over the last few days. Studies have even shown that competitive athletes such as gymnasts, who often train seven days a week for several weeks or months on end, actually gain strength and muscle mass when forced to rest during times of injury.  You don’t have to be that extreme.  You may take one or two days off every week and enjoy those gains on a regular basis rather than pushing yourself to the point of injury.  At least, that would be my recommendation. When the rest is over you will head back to the gym, the yoga studio, or the track with a clear head and a ready body.  You might even get a bit of housework done in the process…

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