Have you taken a rest day this week? If not, I encourage you to take one today. Rather than share a workout with you, I would love it if you join me in taking a day off from the hustle of your normal workout. I’m sharing 3 of my favorite ways to enjoy an active rest day below, but first a little story.

rest dayWHY YOU NEED A REST DAY

Without going into too much detail to the point I start whining, I tweaked my glute medius. It happened 2 weeks ago, on a Wednesday. I caught a quick workout at my parent’s house before I did a gym class for my siblings. When I came up out of a burpee, on my way to a lunge jump, I felt this sharp, stinging pain in my lower back/glute on the right side. Yes, ironic that I hurt it doing a burpee.

In my normal fashion, I brushed it off and went down for another burpee, but felt the same sting, yet proceeded to just finish the workout. I figured I could fix it myself. I foam rolled, I used my TP balls, I stretched, I did yoga. But it didn’t get better. And for two days over the last two weeks, I’ve limped out of the gym after teaching two classes it hurt so much.

Now, any other person might have gotten it checked out when it didn’t get better after a few days. Maybe even after a week. Especially if said person needs to use their legs to instruct and train people for their job. Not being able to go perform a lunge presents some obstacles, no?

On Wednesday, I tried a short workout, hoping it might help (hey, I was willing to try anything), but it honestly just made it worse (did you just say, ‘Duh, Jen!’ in your head? It’s okay if you did.) My husband and I went on a walk when I got home and I asked him what he thought I could do  to fix it.  He said, ‘You know what you need? Rest and Relaxation.’ I told him, ‘Babe, I haven’t done any big workouts since Saturday, except the one from this morning and just light yoga this week.’ Can you guess what he said in response?

REST AND REL-LAX-ATION!!’

Fine.

He called his chiropractor in town and I have an appointment this morning at 9. So, hopefully I can report on Monday that I’m all fixed up.

[bctt tweet=”Sometimes your body needs REST! Find out why #ontheblog. @fitfluential #ffcheckin”]

REST DAYS

Do you take them? Do you know why they are important?

There was a point in my fitness journey when I didn’t understand the importance of rest. After reading that story, maybe you think I still don’t. But rest days are essential to build into your fitness journey, for a number of reasons.

For one, you body needs a break from the constant hustle of every day life. If your life is a busy stressful one, and then you spend countless hours in the gym each week working out, chances are, you are tired. Give the body a break.

When you workout, you are breaking down/tearing your muscles. Those muscles need rest time in order to repair and make you stronger. Taking no rest messes with this process.

Working out is a form a stress. The body cannot differentiate between ‘good’ stress and ‘not good’ stress. It just knows it’s stress. Cortisol is our stress hormone. Increased belly fat is a characteristic of high levels of cortisol. So, if you are working non-stop AND working out, that belly fat is not going to disappear with all those crunches you are doing (more on that topic later).

Plus, taking rest days can help prevent injury…and help heal injury. Cough, cough, Jen.

ACTIVE REST & 3 IDEAS

I like to approach rest days two different ways:

  1. Non Active Rest: These rest days do not include any big activity other than walking. I make it a point to relax over a book, tv show or blogs, remembering to take a few walk breaks throughout the day.
  2. Active Rest: These rest days include some type of low impact activity. I usually steer clear of the gym, unless I decide to take a yoga class. Outside activities are my favorite and allow me to get a little extra vitamin D, as well.

My top 3 favorite active rest day activities include:

WALKING (HIKING)

active-rest-day-activityWe live right on the water and I love nothing more than taking walks on the bridge and around town. Walking is such an underrated form of activity! I do love to hike, but there aren’t a ton of places close by. However, we try to make it a point to go someplace every few months.

BIKING

active-rest-day-activityThe Boy and I haven’t been biking as much lately (mostly because he has something going on with his eye and can’t see during any physical activity), but I love the feeling of flying through the air on my bike.

YOGA

active-rest-day-activity

This week was filled with yoga and it was wonderful. I’ve been thinking about getting certified as an instructor and this week was confirmation that I definitely want to pursue that in the next year or two. Such a great way to release, relax and connect with your body.

[bctt tweet=”Try ACTIVE rest at least 1 day of the week. Biking, hiking and yoga are great options! #fitfluential”]

The weekend is the PERFECT time to take a non-active/active rest day. Especially if you have nice weather, get outside and move a bit.

Busy weekend for me as I’m prepping for my new nutrition clients. Be sure to sign up if you are interested, programs start on Tuesday!

And, exciting news, I’m going to a cycling clinic on Sunday so I can finally teach cycling! Check Insta for pictures!

Finally, linking up with the fabulous Jill today!

Do you take rest days? What are you doing this weekend? Are you as stubborn as me about the doctor?

– Jen.

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