Maybe you read that title and thought, “Meh, no big deal.  I could not workout in my sleep.”  But if you know me (and if you’ve read about some of my past struggles), you’ll understand that this accomplishment is worth writing about.

I haven’t exercised in four days.

(This morning’s Trackstars will break that rest period and I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m going to break speed barriers.)

I needed it.

The rest.

My body, my mind.  All of me needed to just sit on my fanny for four days and not do ANYTHING.

No push-ups on the carpet.  No living room WOD.  No running in place while watching a tv show (yes, I do this sometimes when we’re stuck inside).

Nothing.

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Yes, it helped that we had a big snow storm move in which forced me to cancel Trackstars and my MoveMore groups for three days in a row.  I’m not sure that I would have taken quite so many rest days in a row had it not been for the weather.  What’s noteworthy here is that I have a full gym in my basement at my disposal, no driving or babysitter required.  And I didn’t use it. 

The Importance Of Rest

If you haven’t heard, you’re supposed to be resting a few days during the week.  I’ve written about the importance of rest before but here are the highlights:

1. REST PREVENTS INJURY

It’s common sense that resting is beneficial for injury reduction, but why? Well for starters, rest days prevent overuse. That extends from running to lifting and even walking. If you’re a regular runner, you know how much your legs and feet can take until you just need a day off. If you push it too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and that’s where injuries can happen.

2. YOUR MUSCLES NEED REST

This is likely the first thing you learned about strength training. When you lift weights, you’re essentially tearing muscle fibers. But without a proper period of rest for your immune system to repair and grow the muscle, you’re not going to get the benefit of your training. That’s why you need to vary the muscle groups you engage on staggered days.

3. YOUR PERFORMANCE WON’T DIP

In general, it takes your body almost two weeks of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level. So don’t think that taking a day or two off from training will set you back all that hard work you’ve put in.

4. OVER-TRAINING AFFECTS SLEEP

Is your sleep data all over the place? Over-training could be the culprit. Too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of restlessness or on high alert making a good night’s sleep tough to achieve. A telltale sign is an increase in your resting heart rate. Taking those rest day can help bring down your alertness and heart rate, which can help get you a night of sound sleep.

5. YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM CAN OVERHEAT

During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs. And then? You guessed it: injuries.

6. MENTAL EDGE

From a psychological standpoint, taking a rest period can rekindle your hunger for exercise and help prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be every bit as detrimental as physical fatigue and taking a rest day helps to recharge the psyche.  {source}

For me, resting one day is pretty easy.  I know that it’s best for my body so I always schedule one rest day per week.  But FOUR?!?!  The thought of taking four rest days in a row gives (gave) me anxiety and that’s exactly why I needed to do it.  These hard things…these better-for-us things..they make me stronger.  I want to get stronger.  I told Travis on Day 2 that this exercise in not exercising would make me a better person.  He wholeheartedly agreed.  My plan is to rest more often – a couple of consecutive days every month.

I share all this not only to document it for myself (I CAN do hard things.  I CAN take multiple rest days and not lose strength) but to also encourage YOU to do whatever it is that you find difficult.  Maybe you don’t work out enough.  Maybe you struggle with binge eating or not eating enough.  Maybe you have a sugar addiction, an alcohol or drug addiction.

Whatever it is, you can do it.  Stop complaining and just do it.

QUESTION:  What’s that one hard thing you need to do but can’t seem to pull it off??  Do you need to take more REST DAYS?

(And if you struggle with overexercising, message me! I’d love to talk to you!)

splendid…lindsay

  1. Lindsay says:

    The One thing that help me realize this was when I had to force rest for over six months. Not only did that humble me, but it made me realize that rest is not defined in one day. It’s defined in your overall health over consecutive days. Such a battle these days , Two extremes. Thank you for being honest and let us into your life

  2. Jody - Fit at 58 says:

    I have planned days off but days like today when it is unplanned drive me nuts :) BUT I do know our bod needs rest days & that is why as I aged, I learned the hard way to take 2 full days off per week cause I have crazy workouts! Sometimes we just need more! :)

  3. Jayne says:

    Wow I love this post thanks for sharing and being so transparent! I loved it and I totally find myself feeling the exact same way i believe i need to take consecutive rest days too….

  4. Kindal @ liftingrevolution says:

    You know i can totally relate! It’s so hard sometimes to say “you’ve worked out every day so far, chill out”. especially when I have so many events/races and I feel the need to focus on training. It’s something I’ll always battle with, like you, but am always focused on listening to my body and telling my brain to shut up and sit down. Well said! I bet the workout this morning felt great!

    • lindsaymwright says:

      Oh I knew you would relate. I think anyone in the fitness/health business can relate. Working out isn’t a hassle – it’s the highlight. But sometimes I need to take more rest days (or even weeks). I challenge you too, friend! Maybe 2-4 days in a row! :)

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