7 Reasons You Should Take A Week Off The Gym
If you’ve ever dragged yourself to the gym when you really don’t want to go, then you’ll know that it sucks. Sometimes you’re just not in the right frame of mind and no amount of inspirational Insta posts or motivational Spotify playlists are going to change that. Fitness can be a form of therapy, and often helps when we’re stressed or exhausted. But there are times when it won’t work and our bodies just need rest. It’s important to be able to make that distinction and recognise the value of doing absolutely nothing.
The guilt-spiral of skipping the gym can be intense. But taking some time away from relentless workouts can be great for your body and even better for your mind – so give yourself a break. Here are our top reasons why you should hang up your trainers for a week:
Before you peace out of the gym, check out this desk and sofa workout:
1. Recovery rules
Exercise is amazing for your body, but constant workouts also take their toll. We all know that strength training causes microtears in your muscles, so it’s no surprise that they need time to recover and rebuild. Bodybuilders swear by rest days, the science behind it says that allowing muscles time to recover can actually accelerate growth and strength. Anaerobic workouts also put a lot of stress on your nervous system, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. Taking regular rest days and then is vital for keeping your performance at its best.
With work, socialising and your side-hustle, the gym is another thing to do on an endless list of things – it can all get a bit much sometimes, can’t it? Modern life is all about full schedules and being busy, but that can lead to stress, exhaustion and burnout if you’re not careful. So why not just take one thing off your list? Giving yourself an allocated, guilt-free week off can relieve some of the pressure and give you that extra time to relax and feel on top of life again.
3. See your people
Any gym-addict will know that it can have an adverse effect on your relationships. Skipping drinks with the girls to go spinning, missing breakfast with your other half for sunrise yoga, rescheduling dinner with mum (again) because you just can’t miss that HIIT class. Sound familiar? Taking a week off will make your friends and family happy because they’ll get to hang out with you for more than five minutes, and you might even be wearing real clothes rather than head-to-toe lycra.
When working out becomes a chore, something needs to change. Exercise needs to come from a place of positivity to make it sustainable and effective. If you’re not feeling it, you’re not going perform at your best and that’s going to make you feel rubbish. Time off can help you re-set, reinvigorate your motivation and remind you what you love about working out. Within a week you’ll be craving a sweat-fest, and the pent-up endorphin release will be mind-blowing.
5. Catch up on sleep
Bed is the absolute best. We will literally take any excuse to spend more time in bed. Taking a break from those 6am starts to get to the gym is a great opportunity to catch some extra hours of shut-eye. And your body will thank you. Sleep is the ultimate recovery for aching muscles; even one extra hour every night can help boost your performance, both in the gym and everywhere else. Not only will your muscles recover quicker, you’ll also be rested and energised at work, see improvements in your concentration and be less irritable. So technically, having a lie-in is super productive.
6. Hashtag goals
It’s so easy to slip into a fitness slump. When you’re on the same cycle of classes and routines you can get too comfortable and lose sight of what you want to achieve. Taking a step back gives you the chance to re-evaluate your goals and set yourself some new challenges. Taking a week off is the perfect opportunity book some new classes, map out a new running route and step out of your comfort zone. Mixing things up keeps your workouts challenging, fun and effective.
7. Fix yourself
Whether it’s niggling knee pain, a dodgy ankle or sore hips, stop putting it off and use your week off from the gym to get it sorted. Book in with your GP or physio, get a sports massage and look after yourself properly. Long-term injuries and niggles can lead to serious problems later on if they’re not addressed. Life often gets in the way of booking that appointment, so use this time to nip any little health issues in the bud.
Words by Natalie Morris