If you don't give your body enough rest, you risk overtraining and that can lead to injuries. This is especially a problem for those of you that are regular exercisers. You're used to your body being strong and you may push yourself to keep going, even if your body isn't up to it. It's the pushing that can lead to overuse injuries.
This is one of the reasons why I recommend working out three to five days a week and alternating your days.
I had an unfortunate incident where I was working out too much and not allowing my body to rest and recover properly a few weeks ago and because of that, I suffered an injury. This was an injury that could have been avoided by listening to my body so I want to make sure you know the signs and a few red flags that may be telling you to take it easy:
1. You feel exhausted or very fatigued.
2. You feel dizzy or lightheaded.
3. You feel sharp pain in your joints or muscles. It's never a good idea to work through pain and doing so could make things worse. The old saying “no pain no gain” is not one that should be applied to your exercise routine.
Exercise should be challenging but never painful! If you feel pain, stop what you're doing and take a break. You may be able to go back to your workout without problems, but if it's nagging you, move onto something different or stop your workout. If it's something that continues for several days or weeks, make an appointment with your doctor.
4. You're sick. If you have a fever, the flu or an upper respiratory infection, working out may make things worse. If you have a stuffy nose or a light cold, you may be able to do light workouts, but you should check with your doctor.
5. You are just not yourself. If you can't lift as much as you normally do or your heart rate seems higher than normal, this may be a sign you need to rest. Taking a few days off may be just what you need to come back even stronger.
It's sometimes hard to know when to back off and rest and you may worry that you'll lose strength or gain weight if you take time off. Taking a few days off or even a week won't derail all your efforts and, if you're worried about weight gain, make sure to monitor your calories more closely since you will not be burning off as many. Realize that rest is what you need to get back on track and keep yourself healthy so that you can continue on your Health Quest for a stronger, healthier, happier you!