You know if you skip a workout, you’re likely to get out of habit, lose your fitness gains, or miss out on the health benefits. But did you know there truly are times in your life when exercising is the wrong choice? Taking a break from physical activity may last a day or it may last several weeks depending on your circumstance. However, it’s sometimes the best thing to do for your body.
Not sure you have a good excuse to skip your workout? Here are five times when you should let your trainer know you’re going to have to skip the gym.
A sprain, strain, fracture, or any number of other physical injuries are all good reasons to take a break from exercise. In fact, if you don't, your injury may not heal and may instead worsen into something that won’t heal without significant medical attention. Therefore, it’s never a good idea to exercise through pain. It's always best to heed your doctor's advice when it comes to injury and exercise. There may be other types of activities to do in the meantime, but sometimes complete rest is best. For instance, you may need to stop running if you have shin splints, but you could ride the stationary bike, while an injury like a concussion requires avoiding all physical exertion.
For their safety and health, women shouldn't exercise during the six weeks following childbirth and longer if they've had a Caesarean section. A woman's body needs time to recover from giving birth and strenuous activity too soon can be dangerous. Get as much rest as you can and focus on caring for your new baby and yourself.
A third valid reason to skip a workout is sickness. You’re already feeling awful. The last thing you want is to use all the energy your body needs to heal itself by running on the treadmill. Stay at home with your germs instead of bringing them to the gym. Another downside is that certain illnesses such as fever, chest congestion, aches, diarrhea, or other stomach conditions can be made worse by physical activity, so lay low until symptoms subside then ease back into exercise.
On the other hand, if you just have a cold accompanied by a slight runny nose and mild cough, moderate-intensity exercise may do you some good.
In the days or weeks following surgery, whether major or minor, follow your doctor's orders regarding physical activity. Some degree of movement is likely recommended, but strenuous activity is off limits. Your body was just put through the ringer and needs time and rest to heal itself. You may be ready and eager to get back to normal life, but doing so too quickly could cause negative health consequences. When your doctor gives the okay, stay safe by gradually easing back into your workout routine.
A fifth good excuse to skip your workout is after an especially challenging workout. So give yourself a much-needed break whether you just ran a race, participated in an athletic event, or pushed yourself to your physical limits, and don't feel guilty for taking a day or two off. To stay in good shape you only need to workout three days a week. Plus, your muscles need time to repair damage from an intense workout. Exercising through extreme soreness also increases your risk for injury, so wait a day or two until you can move comfortably.