09 Oct The top 5 reasons you need to take a break
Having recently been on a wonderful holiday to Hawaii, I again am reminded of the importance of taking regular breaks. Whether it is a day or two during the week from exercise or a holiday for a week (maybe a “staycation”), or a big trip (such as a client of mine who is off to South Africa for 3 months), we all need to take some time out.
Let me tell you the top 5 reasons why this is so important:
1. Lower your stress levels
We all have varying levels of stress in our life but letting stress build up can be unhealthy in many ways. Our body is designed to respond to short bursts of stress, but when stress is prolonged and the stress response is triggered repeatedly and on a regular basis (such as through a stressful job or a tough relationship), this is where real health problems can set in. Those who experience chronic stress are more susceptible to conditions ranging from more frequent headaches and gastro issues to more serious conditions like insomnia, high blood pressure, plus the increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The stress can just snowball and we become overwhelmed with everything. So by taking some time out, we can restore our mental health which affects all areas of our life
2. It’s important for your body
Resting is just as important as working out because it’s an equal part of the total process required to build strength, endurance, and muscle. Working out, especially resistance training, breaks your body tissues down so by resting, you allow your muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue, time to repair and rebuild so you come back stronger than ever.
3. Prevents overtraining, injury and burning out
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 trainer, you know how much your body can take until you need a day off. If you push it too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and that’s when injuries can happen.
In the end, life is about balance. We all have limited resources—time, energy, money, physical reserves—and spending too much of them on exercise can lead to burnout. It’s better to commit to a realistic program that fits in with your schedule and goals than to go all out and want to quit after a month. Exercise is a lifelong pursuit, and it should make you happy so find a balance with your body and life, that works for you.
4. Gain more energy
Yes exercise does give an energy boost but if you are not taking any time out, trust me this will zap your energy in the long run and you will feel tired all the time. More exercise does not always mean more energy. If your workouts are regularly making you crash in the afternoon or drag through your day because you’re so tired and sore you can barely move, then you’re doing too much. So listen to your body – if you are sore all the time, you need to take some time out.
5. Spend time with the ones you love
Life is all about balance – it is sometimes too easy to get wrapped up and regimented in your workouts and lose sight of other very important aspects of life. Whether it is your partner, girlfriend, children, family or friends, it’s nice to take a break from training to spend some time with them to show you care and demonstrate that they are just as important as your workouts. A week away from training will mean a lot to those who you care about.
So give your body what it needs and take a break now and then – every single athlete in the history of time does this too. Take time out to reflect on how far you’ve already come and acknowledge and be grateful for your body, willpower and dedication.