Have you ever wondered where the line is between needing a rest day and needing to push yourself? It’s a fine line to dance upon, and I’ve compiled some tips to help you consider which way you should go on any given day:

  1. Do you feel ill/sick/unwell?
    1. Are your symptoms above your neck or below? Above only, such as nasal congestion, sore throat, sneezing, teary eyes? Then you likely can exercise and it won’t make things worse. In fact, it could make you feel better. If your symptoms are below the neck, such as coughing, fever, fatigue, and body aches, then it’s better to rest. (Read more in this article by WebMD
    2. Instead of the workout you were planning for, you may want to take the intensity down and walk instead of run, or take a pilates or yoga class. This can be helpful particularly if you are afraid of breaking your momentum with your exercise and may have a hard time getting back to it if you take time off to rest and recover.
    3. Side note here: exercise does have immune boosting benefits when done moderately. However, intense training can actually lower your immune system. If you’re doing something like training for a marathon or doing intense HIIT workouts a number of times each week, boost your defenses with a multivitamin, foods that are high in nutrients and antioxidants, and get plenty of sleep so that your body can fully recover.
  2. Are you tired?
    1. Are you getting enough sleep at night? Current studies show that the researched and recommended amount of sleep for adults age 26-64 years old is 7-9 hours each night. 6 or 10 hours may also be acceptable, depending on the person. The real question here is: how are you feeling on a regular basis? Do you get sleepy at certain times of the day? Do you need caffeine regularly to function normally? You may need to organize your schedule to include more sleep. Sleep lowers stress, improves mood, helps you maintain a healthy weight, increases your ability to pay attention and recall new information, as well as your creative energy, and also improves athletic performance and coordination. “For many of us with sleep debt, we’ve forgotten what ‘being really, truly rested’ feels like.” (Read more in this article by The National Sleep Foundation
    2. Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends. Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music. Create a sleep conducive bedroom that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool (and leave the electronics far from it!). Exercising regularly can improve your energy and sleep rhythms.
  3. Are you eating nutritionally well?
    1. Do you regularly eat whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats?
    2. Do you eat a moderate amount of food – not too much, and yet not too little, and do you equally space those meals throughout the day?
      1. Eating too little: It’s very easy nowadays to get busy with work and other things to skip meals in the name of productivity, but our health is our best and biggest asset and we should treat it as such. Without our health, we cannot do all of the other things. Assess your priorities, plan, and execute according to a way that nourishes you and fuels your life.
      2. Eating too much: Food can be a comfort, and that is cross-cultural. We may have been raised to eat more when stressed or when celebratory. Moderation is key. Eat to live, don’t live to eat. It feels better. Find other coping mechanisms for difficult, stressful situations and days, such as journaling, talking with a good friend or family member, taking a bath, and practicing other good self-care habits. Yes, they’re habits that must be practiced in order for them to become natural. (For a list of ideas of self-care habits, check out this article by Psychology Today
  4. Do you just not feel motivated to do it?
    1. Many times, we have multiple things in our lives pulling us different directions, to and fro, and we have to recognize that we are the deciders – we are the ones at the helm that ultimately do have the power to choose what gets done today, and what will wait until tomorrow.
      1. Practice strategic procrastination. Chances are, not all of the items on your to-do list are critical for completion today. However, taking care of your health, inside and out, i.e., exercising, has a cumulative benefit. The benefits grow as you practice this habit consistently. Just as with sleep, our bodies need movement and activity in order to perform at their best. You’ll likely find that you can get more done in a day that you take the time to exercise as it produces more energy and focus for other things. Still yet, if you can put another item off for tomorrow so that you can get 30 mins of exercise in today, do it.
    2. Where can you glean motivation and inspiration from around you? Who within your circles exercises regularly and would tell you to do it if you’re wavering in your decision?
    3. Are the long-term benefits of exercise just not MOVING you? Check out this article from HuffPost on what happens in your body after just ONE workout
    4. Can you recall the reasons WHY you said that you were going to do it in the first place? I mean the REAL, DEEP, HEARTFELT ones – like the ability and energy to play with your kids or grandkids, your own self-confidence outside of anyone or anything else, reducing your own self-consciousness, generally feeling better and stronger and more productive, seeing just what you can do with your body, and more? What is it for YOU?


Still have questions that pertain specifically to your circumstances? Reach out to me and let’s talk about it. I’d love to see what I can do to help!


Have an amazing day!


Aubrey Eicher

Owner, Personal Trainer

Richmond Wellness

richmond-wellness.com | 804-367-3589 phone


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