When you finally find an exercise you enjoy doing, it's great to immerse yourself in it. Because unlike most of our favoured habits (like eating mac and cheese in front of Netflix), this one is actually good for you - which means you can do it more often, right? Correct - but not all the time. Because just as it's important to do exercise in the first place, it's equally as vital to take adequate rest days. Everything in moderation, as they say.
If you struggle with guilt about skipping a workout, maybe these personal trainer-approved reasons to give yourself the day off will help to convince you:
1. Your body needs time to recover
Exercise is meant to feel challenging; it means your body has worked hard. But that means you need to give it adequate time for rest, just like you would consciously schedule more nights in after a period of going out too much.
"When training, the working muscles can be placed under a lot of stress depending on the style of training you’re doing. Your body needs time to repair itself after being put under stress," says Virgin Active Personal Trainer, Jake McCarthy. "For example, hypertrophy [muscle growing] or resistance based training normally yields a 48 hour recovery window," he adds.
2. Your next workout will benefit from the rest day
If you knew you would actively perform better - and be able to push yourself further - by giving yourself a rest day, would that keep you out of the gym? Well, you'd better believe it. "Recovery days are vital in ensuring optimal performance within training sessions. If the body is well rested and the person training has had sufficient sleep, then they will be able to hold a higher intensity of work in training sessions," says the PT.
3. Days off minimise risk of injury
The more you overtrain muscle groups, the higher chance you've got of causing an injury. For example, if you were to squat with weights, Jake would advise that you don’t train the same way again for another few days. "If you were to put those muscles under stress again too quickly, it would severely increase the risk of picking up an injury due to overuse," the trainer explains.
4. You can sustain a healthy lifestyle for longer if you rest regularly
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle long-term means making it sustainable. But if you don't factor in rest days, that becomes less possible. "Taking sufficient recovery and training smart will help protect the longevity of your training and keep you fitter and stronger for longer," advises the personal trainer.
So that's decided, then. Day off?