Most of the time when you’re debating about if you should workout or not, you probably should. If you’re debating exercising or not based just on not feeling like it, exercise anyway because you won’t regret it.
However, there are instances when skipping your workout may be more beneficial than exerting your body through exercise. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding if you should skip your workout today or not.
Do you have pain?
A valid reason for skipping your workout could be because you have pain from an injury. Pushing through pain isn’t usually the best if it’s from an injury. Pain is the body’s way to tell the brain to stop doing something. Pain from muscle fatigue or lactic acid build up from a hard workout is different than the pain you feel because of an injury. It’s important to know the difference between injury pain and when you can push through “pain” of exercise.
If a part of your body hurts before you start your workout, you may want to think about skipping your workout. If your body will heal faster if you rest, it may be worth it in the long run to rest for a day instead of taking more time off because of an injury. If you are not sure, err on the side of caution and seek medical advice.
Are you sick?
If you have a minor cold, you may be able to still get a good workout in. However, if you are extra tired, achy, have a fever or unable to keep food down, you should probably skip your workout.
Slugging through a workout when you are sick may not be the best use of your energy. Even if it’s a minor cold, listen to your body. If you don’t feel well, skipping your workout could help your body heal faster instead of dragging out a sickness. When in doubt, seek professional medical advice and err on the side of caution.
Did you just do a major competition or athletic event?
Rest days after a major competition or athletic event can help your body recover faster and prevent mental burn out. If you’re questioning if you should work out the day after a major athletic event, listen to your body. A gentler, shorter workout may be beneficial to workout extra lactic acid build up, or you may do better by just resting all together so your muscles can recover.
Are you getting enough sleep?
If you are going through a period of time, whether from stress, work or family events, that prevent you from getting adequate sleep every night, it may do your body good to skip a workout. Sleep is vital for overall health, weight regulation and hormone balance.
If you are feeling like a walking zombie, taking a nap instead of working out may be the best thing for your body at that time. Once your energy levels are back on track, get going with your workout routine.
Has anyone told you that you should be resting?
If a doctor, therapist, family member or close friend has recommended you should skip your workout for today, you should probably listen. If you are feeling burned out mentally or physically, a rest day can help reset you. If you feel your body being worn down, listen to your body and rest.
Even if there is a pain that is small but nagging, you may want to skip your workout. A doctor or therapist may recognize what could happen if you don’t stop with something small and are trying to prevent a larger injury from occurring.
Is it mental?
If your body feels physically fine and you are wondering if you should skip your workout today or not, do your workout. If you mentally don’t feel like it, push through it. After exercise you will feel a lot better, and chances are you won’t ever regret a workout if you’re healthy.
If it’s your brain telling you not to exercise, don’t listen. If your body is telling you it needs some rest, then you should listen and possibly skip or alter your workout.
If exercise, fitness or health are controlling your thoughts or if exercise becomes obsessive, skipping your workout may also be beneficial to bring balance back in your thoughts. If you are battling disordered eating thoughts and obsessing with exercise, talk with a counselor or other health professional to help bring balance into your life.
If you are debating whether or not you should skip your workout, ask yourself if it is because you just mentally don’t feel like it or if there is a physical reason why. If you have pain, an injury, are sick, recovering from a major athletic competition or chronic sleep loss, skipping your workout may be more beneficial than trying to power through it.