Another weekend has come and gone and here we are winding down, from another Monday, back at the grind. I am completely sure that Daylight Savings hit some of you pretty hard, if not harder, than it hit me. I had a solid nine hours of sleep last night, eleven the night before, and I am still feeling like a newborn human: sleep, eat, po…well, you know, and back to sleep. I promise you, this drunk baby/jet lag feeling will soon be over and worth the difficulty it was getting up this morning. At this point, I am positive you’re wondering what my post is about since the title is vaguer than some people’s Facebook status updates. NO, this isn’t about Donald Trump, get your minds out of the gutter. (Sorry, that was my only political joke, ever. Promise.) I am talking rest days people! Rest days, from working out, or what you do for your daily physical healthcare routine, and the importance of getting enough sleep. I might be going for my personal training certification, however, I will be Frank, or Angela, I am NOT a pro at this. I repeat, I AM NOT A PRO AT THIS. I haven’t completed my formal education on this yet. As always, I am just sharing my knowledge and what works for me. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Someone once told me (okay, so it was my good friend and chiropractor, from Third Space Medical, in Ridgewood, sup Dr. Jon), if your body is telling you to take it easy, LISTEN TO IT. Your body knows you best. As a Type A to the tee, I used think I had to be at the gym every single morning (granted, I am still there five mornings a week) but I was completely running myself down. For instance, today, I slept through my alarm. That hasn’t happened in years. My body was doing me a solid and giving me what I needed. I couldn’t have been happier waking up a little later and more refreshed than if I jumped out of bed at 4:30am and possibly dragging (excuse my French) my ass all day. Bottom line, if you’re any type of athlete or human, you need sleep. Just ask LeBron James who sleeps twelve hours per night.
- If you run as much as I do, YOU NEED REST. Okay, I am not exactly a marathon runner, I am a recreational runner who is competitive with herself in terms of distance. When I was training to run a half marathon (never made it, bum hip, I ran 13.5 on my own one day, but I am coming for a tee shirt and medal to run away with, get it? I thought it was funny) the schedule included rest days and never to run the full 13.1 miles. Intriguing? Kind of, but not exactly more confusing than Denis Rodman marrying himself back in ’96 . Exerting yourself will leave you weak and broken. Your body needs time to recover, from the grueling amounts of miles you’re trekking, and the toll it takes on your muscles and bones. The feeling of torn up calf muscles is not relatable to a day on the beach in Punta Cana.
- You’re in pain. This is a no brainer. Well, if you have a brain… Which, if you’re reading this, I am assuming you’re not Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. If you’re in pain, it’s a red flag to not train. The choice to train through it is up to you but you’re leaving yourself wide open for injury. Keep in mind, injury will keep you out longer than a rest day will. Trust me, I learned that the hard way after pulling way too many muscles and needing one too many physical therapy sessions.
- You’re cantankerous. If you find yourself more irritable than usual, it is time to give yourself a rest day. Every day life is exhausting whether you have one job and take care of a home, pay bills, do house chores, run errands, etc., or two jobs, or you’re a stay at home Mother to three kids. Life is hard. Give yourself a break. Nobody is faulting you for taking care of your mind and body. In fact, I am applauding you. Get some ice cream while you’re at it!
- On rest days, you’re still benefiting from your workouts. Some say “No pain, no gain.” The other 98% argue (Ok, that was REALLY my last political joke) “All pain, no gain.” So which is true? Personally, I am going with the latter. I am not a professional body builder or competitor, I don’t have any professional goals, I work out for my health and enjoyment and whatever aesthetics that come along with my lifestyle are simply a perk . However, no matter what your goals are or which age bracket you fall into, the bottom line remains the same. Check out this short article for more information.
- Lastly, of course my Type A self had to add this part in: Active rest days! I like relaxing but I am one of those people who can’t sit still for too long. Active rest days can be defined as days where you’re not going b*lls t the wall and over exerting yourself physically but you’re still giving yourself the chance to be active. Think swimming, yoga, pilates, a brisk walk for a few miles, or a light bike ride. This way, you can still feel yourself without overtraining yourself into injury.