Giving Exercise a Rest

  • Giving Exercise a Rest

I have a friend who (mostly) observes the Jewish holidays. She attends religious services, (mostly) fasts, abstains from working, and devotes herself to prayer according to tradition. She highly regards and celebrates her Jewish heritage, but one thing she can’t seem to give up on Yom Kippur is exercise.

According to Jewish custom, Yom Kippur requires (among other observances) that Jews abstain from eating and drinking, as well as bathing. Post workout, my friend drinks water and coffee and then hits the showers.

A religious observation is obviously a valid reason to take the day (or days) off from exercising, although my girlfriend jokes that “God is going to get her", I sense she has some true anxiety about breaking tradition. This causes me to wonder if she is achieving the benefits of exercise while so preoccupied with the stress of going against her beliefs for the sake of breaking a sweat. The idea behind this came up because of my friend and her dilemma with exercising during Yom Kippur, but it reminded me that (religious aspects aside) all of us need to remember there is a huge value anytime of the year to give time (without guilt) for days to rest in between our exercise regime.

Respect Rest Days

Exercise is extremely important. It maintains both our physical and emotional health. It clears our heads and gives us increased self confidence. Working out increases our longevity and promotes a high quality life. Incorporating physical activity is an integral part our existence, but sometimes, we need to give it a rest. It is just as important to recognize and respect the need for a break from the workout routine as it is to implement exercise as a regular part of our healthy lifestyle. From time to time, life throws us unexpected circumstances that warrant backing off our gym time.

However, it is just as important for all of us to recognize and respect the need for a break from the workout routine, as it is to implement exercise as a regular part of our healthy lifestyle. From time to time, life throws us unexpected circumstances that warrant backing off our gym time.

Taking Time off From Exercise is Recommended When:

  • You are pregnant with complications.
  • You are less than six weeks postpartum.
  • You have sustained an injury that requires rest to heal.
  • You are ill from the chest down (generally a mild head cold should not prevent you from exercising, but if it has settled into your chest, consult your doctor before taxing your lungs).
  • You have a fever or other signs of infection.
  • You have chronic pain that is exacerbated by the offending exercise.
  • You feel mentally tired or drained.

No matter what your religious, spiritual, or personal convictions are, listen to your body, exercise in moderation, and take time off as necessary. Rest days are just as important as training days and should be scheduled as such without guilt. You will find that your “on” days will produce higher quality workouts when your body has time to recover from previous ones.