We all have those mornings when we’d rather lounge around in our jammies with an extra cup of coffee than make our way to the gym. Usually, this is a bad idea, and later in the day we’ll end up regretting our decision to skip exercise. Sometimes, however, when you don’t feel like working out, your body may be communicating with you. Here are six times when you should heed the urge to relax.
1-Sleep deprivation. Sleep is vital to health and well-being. During sleep the body recharges and the brain performs “housekeeping” tasks. Sleep deprivation can have devastating effects and lead to a dramatic decline in the ability to perform simple tasks. Furthermore, it compromises the immune system. When the body is already stressed by a lack of sleep, exercise will only exacerbate the problem. If you are suffering from lack of sleep, you’re better off sleeping for an extra hour than you are exercising. Get some extra rest and be ready to hit the gym another day when you feel rested.
2-Fever. If you have a fever, exercise is a big no-no. A fever is a sign that your body is fighting an infection. You want to provide your body with the rest it needs to do this important work. Under these circumstances exercise will break you down rather than build you up. Listen to your body, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. You’ll be back in the gym in no time.
3-Injury or pain. When it comes to exercise, there is such a thing as “good” pain and “bad” pain, and you will likely know the difference. Good pain refers to the sore muscles that follow a challenging workout; bad pain refers to uncomfortable pain that lingers and feels like something is wrong. If you have an injury or a nagging ache or pain, refrain from exercise and visit the doctor instead. Exercising through an injury will only aggravate it and perhaps even lead to bigger problems.
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4-Fatigue from overtraining. The fatigue that results from overexercising is different from the tiredness we feel from a late night, a long day, or chronic sleep deprivation. Overtraining leaves us feeling irritable and just plain “different.” You may experience insomnia, depression, weight gain, or a litany of other symptoms. The best indicator of overtraining is an elevated resting heart rate. If your resting heart rate is 10 percent (or more) higher than normal, your body needs rest.
5-Dizziness or nausea. If you’re feeling dizzy or nauseated, your body is already under stress and there is no reason to add exercise to the mix. Even if you don’t have a fever, if your stomach is upset or you feel queasy, you should rest. Learn to listen to your body’s signals rather than try to push through them.
6-Chronic depression or stress. Many experts recommend exercise as a coping mechanism for stress or depression, and in some cases exercise can be appropriate for these conditions. However, when cortisol is elevated and serotonin is depleted—as they are with severe and chronic stress or depression—exercise can further deplete the body and exacerbate the condition. In these cases, intense exercise should be avoided. Moderate exercise (a 30-minute gentle walk) may be appropriate, but consult your physician to be sure.