Fitness Rule #9

Today I have an easy fitness rule:

Take one day off each week.

Our bodies need a break now and then; we work hard.  We work in our everyday lives, and we work to stay fit.  A day off allows our muscles to rest and repair.  It allows our bodies time to absorb all the work and benefits we have given it through our activities.

Our minds need a break, too.  I know.  It’s hard.  We all have so many things going on in our lives that sometimes we just can’t let ourselves stop, even for a day.  And even on a day off, there are some things we still have to do, like taking care of our kids, or throwing in a load of laundry.  It’s a balance we have to find for ourselves— that balance of activity and rest.

To take one day off each week doesn’t have to mean that we lay in bed all day, or on the sofa, unless we want to do that.  A day off can include a walk on the beach, or a stroll through our neighborhood.  Maybe it means taking a picnic and finding the right spot to enjoy it, alone or with someone we care about.  It can mean a leisurely bike ride, taking in the scenery as we pedal easily, instead of racing along our regular route.  But it does mean leaving the stop watch at home.  It means enjoying an activity without the thought of breaking a PR.

One benefit of taking a day off  from fitness is that the next workout can be spectacular.  Not that it will always be amazing, but sometimes after a rest, our bodies have stored up a little extra energy, realized something from the past week’s workouts,  and are ready to give back more.  Our minds have let go, just for one day, the expectations we hold for ourselves.  I think of my brain kind of settling into a softness, like the way my hips feel in a yoga hip-opening pose, all sweet and easy.  That softness mellows my thoughts and lets my ideas settle into a place in my mind that may not have been opened before the rest period.

Another benefit of taking a day off is knowing there is a break coming.  I schedule my day off from fitness around what works for me.  If I know my family will be going to a concert at night and we will be out late, I let myself know that the next day is mine.  I don’t have to worry about getting up in time to run.  I have more fun being out because my mind is not chattering away about how tired I will be the next morning, how hard a long run will be when I have not had enough sleep.  There are days when my workout is ultra-intense because I know I will have the next day off to recuperate.

Having fitness goals is a measurable way to assess progress.  My fitness rules support attaining goals because they are simple, tried-and-true guidelines for any person willing to try to attain or maintain their desired level of fitness.  The one fitness rule I do not break is to include that one day off in my goals.  It is both the easiest and hardest one to cross off my list!

Explore posts in the same categories: Fitness Rules, Run notes that run into life, Training

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One Comment on “Fitness Rule #9”

  1. Pat Says:

    AMEN !!!

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