As we all know, exercise is vital for managing stress, attaining good sleep, and living a healthy life in general. But when should you push yourself the hardest, and when should you take a break? Which excuses to skip a workout are valid, and which aren’t?
To answer this question, the people over at ThriveGlobal rounded up the most common excuses for skipping physical activity, along with tips on whether you should work out or chill out for the sake of your well-being.
Exercise actually helps relieve stress, so instead of this being your scapegoat to avoid exercise, use it as your reason to go work out. Whether it’s a big presentation or personal problems, your brain chemistry will thank you later for hitting the gym.
“Exercise is physiological: Your blood flow to the brain increases, your breathing rate increases, and your heart rate increases. All of this is great for how you will feel a couple of hours after completing an activity,” Jim Bagley, a professor at San Francisco State University tells Thrive. “When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, and those go to your brain. They stimulate the sensors in your brain that are related to rewards.”
I don’t feel like it
“If you’re just not feeling it — say, if you have kids at home and they were up all night — you don’t have to necessarily stick to your plan for that day. You can do something else lighter,” said Bagley. Good examples of lighter exercise are going for a walk, bicycling, and light yoga.
This one is a little tricker as it depends on the intensity and length of your soreness. If your muscles are aching the day after exercise, go for it!
“But if you’re still sore two to four days after you’ve exercised, you’ve got delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS),” Bagley stated. Training more with DOMS can actually be detrimental to your muscles as they are trying to recover. Pushing them further can bring damage and delayed recovery.
Mild fatigue is no excuse for skipping that workout. Exercising actually helps increase energy levels after you’ve finished and for the following days. That said, you should listen to your body and know when enough is enough, burnout can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.
I don’t have enough time
Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to fit a block of time for exercise in, though this is more achievable through getting creative. According to The Department of Health and Human Services, 150 minutes of exercise a week is optimal, which is equivalent to 30 minutes, five days a week.
“Any amount of moderate to vigorous activity can add up to 30 minutes. It doesn’t need to be a structured program,” Bagley tells Thrive. “You can spread it out.” You can try three 10-minute walks a day, or two 15-minute quick in-home workouts, one in the morning, and one in the evening.