Exercise! - Does your body NEED a break?




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RidiculouslyAddicted
03-21-2007, 02:05 PM
Hello!

I'm pretty new at the whole exercise/weight loss thing (about 2 1/2 months in), and I've been trying to gradually build up my exercise. I started at 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week, and I'm currently at 45-60 minutes, 5 times a week.

I planned to have no workouts today and Saturday, to give my body a "break". However, I don't feel well now... I usually work out in the mornings, and I'm finding that it gives me more energy and motivation and just general "feeling-goodness" throughout the day than if I don't work out. I miss it! I'm really starting to love my workouts, it's great "me time"... so I guess I'm basically wanting to know a couple of things:

1. Does your body need to rest? If so, how often?
2. How often, and for how long, do you exercise? Cardio, weight training, stretching, etc.? On average, how many hours a week?

TIA!!


canadian mom
03-21-2007, 02:19 PM
I myself at least walk 30 mins a day even on my days "off". I do cardio at least 6 days /week and free weights every second.

mandalinn82
03-21-2007, 02:40 PM
You really only need a break between strength training - but I find that I burn out quickly if I don't take one day off from cardio a week.

Just make sure you give yourself a day or two in between strength training workouts on the same muscle group and if you feel like you're burning out on cardio, take a rest.


RidiculouslyAddicted
03-21-2007, 02:51 PM
Thanks, that sounds like pretty sound advice, mandalinn. I knew you had to take a break in between strength training with the same muscle group, but that's not exactly a problem for me, yet. I'm only getting in 1, maybe 2 strength training sessions a week. I guess I should just listen to my body, then?

Diva
03-21-2007, 03:19 PM
I like to get at leat 1 hour of cardio 4 to 5 day's a week, with a couple day's of strength training tossed in for good measure. I always take Sat & Sunday off because everyone is home and I don't have a place with enough room to do anything. I have to have privacy, lol, because I feel and prolly look like a dork. I will take walks on those days, sometimes. I would like to get a definate 5 day's, but sometimes on Monday's after my 2 day's off I have a hard time motivating myself to get in the groove again. I haven't gotten addicted yet like the rest of you, LOL!

BeezKnees
03-21-2007, 03:19 PM
I think breaks from cardio are probably required more for mental health than physical. From what I understand, cardio every day is great. (I asked my PT. She said go for it.):)

mandalinn82
03-21-2007, 03:34 PM
For me, I know in the past when I did cardio everyday, I only kept up with it for a month. But if I did the cardio 6 days a week, I last months and counting...and the one day off prevents me from quitting, so its important to me. But it may not be for you - listen to your body!

MariaMaria
03-21-2007, 04:23 PM
I think breaks from cardio are probably required more for mental health than physical.

That's not my experience.

I run. I find that if I don't rest every fourth or fifth day, I just lag. I don't have the energy for distances and speeds that are well within my comfort zone.

Every credible running reference I've checked specifies at least one day off each week, regardless of the distance one is running or training for.

WaterRat
03-21-2007, 04:29 PM
I don't know if you "need" a day off, or whether just changing your form of cardio or the intensity would do it. I agree, listen to your body. I think it is partly mental. But runners, esp I've noticed, usually do rest 1-2 days a week. For me, I plan my rest day around the rest of my life which seems to involve a lot of evening meetings, mostly work-related. Now that spring is here, I'll be more willing to get up and exercise in the mornings.

BeezKnees
03-21-2007, 04:33 PM
So I guess it depends on what you're actually doing for cardio.

I walk hills on the treadmill at speeds up to 4.2mph, and throw in an occassional sprint. I ride the stationary bike. I don't run great distances. Knowing that, my PT (a marathoner) said every day is fine.

Also, You On a Diet says, at minimum, to walk every day for 30 minutes.

RidiculouslyAddicted
03-21-2007, 04:37 PM
I'm sure walking every day is fine... The stuff about running is interesting, because I'm going to start the C25K plan as soon as the sidewalks are runnable (okay, so there are some people out running already, but I'm a wimp!). So... could I theoretically do running 3 days a week and stationary bike 4 times, taking days off only when I think I need them?

MariaMaria
03-21-2007, 04:43 PM
Shelby, as long as it feels right to you, it's fine. Your body will tell you when it's being overworked.

mandalinn82
03-21-2007, 04:44 PM
I think if you are -running-, you need to take breaks from running (its hard on the joints). the c25k program has these rest days built in. However, if you wanted to do something else on those rest days, that isn't really hard on your joints, i still think you'd be ok.

ennay
03-21-2007, 05:46 PM
this again gets into the question of goals and intensity

If you are trying to lose weight and be healthy then daily cardio is fine, however not all 7 days should be the same exercise (with the exception of walking) and there should be at least 1-2 days where the intensity is more relaxed i.e. walk instead of run. Most of your workouts should be in your comfort zone (not increasing pace or distance ). If you have been doing the elliptical 5 days a week for 45-50 minutes for 6 months its not as big a deal to your body as if you are trying to move from 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Know what your "base" cardio level is and only exceed that a couple times a week and go below it at least 1 day a week.

If you are training for something then rest is very important and should be built into your program. You spend more of your cardio time at higher levels or pushing the edge of your comfort zone. Without adequate rest you will not recover enough between workouts to train at the appropriate level the next time. Active rest (x training) is ok, but should be done at a lower intensity than your main sport.

In all situations if you plan on working out 6-7 days a week, it is a good habit to regularly monitor your resting HR (before you get out of bed is best). Any INCREASE in resting HR is a clear sign of over training. Also if you have several workouts in a row where you just dont feel up to par, it is time for a break. THis link is for a list of symptoms of overtraining: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/overtraining/a/aa062499a.htm

ennay
03-21-2007, 05:58 PM
So in response to the original poster--given the length of time that you have been doing this ..I would say

1) dont try to do the 2 rest days back to back, better to do separate days

2) If you need the activity to keep your energy/mood up, then on the other 2 days do 20-30 minutes at a level about 70-80% of what you do on the main days. Pick a level that is just enough to get your HR moving and breathing a little elevated but "at a level you feel you could maintain indefinitely" - and preferably some other activity than your standard activity, unless your standard activity is walking in which case it is fine to walk.

RidiculouslyAddicted
03-21-2007, 10:36 PM
this again gets into the question of goals and intensity

If you are trying to lose weight and be healthy then daily cardio is fine, however not all 7 days should be the same exercise (with the exception of walking) and there should be at least 1-2 days where the intensity is more relaxed i.e. walk instead of run. Most of your workouts should be in your comfort zone (not increasing pace or distance ). If you have been doing the elliptical 5 days a week for 45-50 minutes for 6 months its not as big a deal to your body as if you are trying to move from 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Know what your "base" cardio level is and only exceed that a couple times a week and go below it at least 1 day a week.

If you are training for something then rest is very important and should be built into your program. You spend more of your cardio time at higher levels or pushing the edge of your comfort zone. Without adequate rest you will not recover enough between workouts to train at the appropriate level the next time. Active rest (x training) is ok, but should be done at a lower intensity than your main sport.

In all situations if you plan on working out 6-7 days a week, it is a good habit to regularly monitor your resting HR (before you get out of bed is best). Any INCREASE in resting HR is a clear sign of over training. Also if you have several workouts in a row where you just dont feel up to par, it is time for a break. THis link is for a list of symptoms of overtraining: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/overtraining/a/aa062499a.htm

Very interesting information; thank you ennay. The resting HR thing is something I've never heard before. Also, what is this active rest/x training? Is that just doing something different?

Basically, I want to lose weight (obviously), but I'd also like to train for a 5K run in July, hence the C25K. I typically work out on my stationary bike at home, and while I work hard, I wouldn't say I work as hard as I COULD, KWIM?

almostheaven
03-21-2007, 10:59 PM
I'm not sure I agree with the body knowing when you need to rest idea. I'm more with the doing different forms of exercise to give parts of the body rest if you're going to exercise every day. There are times I do go every day, but not the same things all the time. Especially running...I can't possibly do it every day. But when I started, I TRIED doing it every day. I ended up with blisters, callouses, shin splints. If my body was going to tell me when to rest, I'd have hoped it would have told me before I felt that bad and had to take several days out to heal. And sometimes we might wonder if it's really our bodies speaking or all in our head. Are we wanting to stop because we really can't go another step, another 5 minutes, or because our body really needs the rest?

RidiculouslyAddicted
03-22-2007, 03:10 PM
almostheaven,
I hear what you're saying; however, I can tell when I just need a break from exercising.

To me, there's a big difference from how I feel in the morning when I just don't want to get out of bed vs. when I'm exhausted. One day I was feeling exhausted and didn't listen to my body, got up and exercised, and had a bad session, plus felt like garbage all day. The next time, I listened, slept for an extra hour, and felt a LOT better. Was able to get right back on track the next day, too.

BeezKnees
03-22-2007, 03:42 PM
I wonder in some cases if it's an actual need for a break from exercising, or if there are other factors that contribute, such as not enough sleep, or not enough protein, or dehydration. Or in almostheaven's case, bad shoes!

ennay
03-22-2007, 04:05 PM
Of course there are other factors that contribute. I have a pretty robust immune system most of the time. There are about 4 times a year where the entire family will be sick and my only symptom is extreme fatigue. Without the rest of the family there, I would think I am just nuts or lazy. But for SURE when they are sick and I get that mind numbing fatigue I LISTEN. When I dont, I join them.

There are MANY reasons you might need a break. Exercise is one of those things. Enough boosts everything (immunity, energy, mood, sleep) too much though and everything can go downhill and give you the opposite effect. (illness, lethargy, depression, insomnia)

ennay
03-22-2007, 04:09 PM
Very interesting information; thank you ennay. The resting HR thing is something I've never heard before. Also, what is this active rest/x training? Is that just doing something different?

Basically, I want to lose weight (obviously), but I'd also like to train for a 5K run in July, hence the C25K. I typically work out on my stationary bike at home, and while I work hard, I wouldn't say I work as hard as I COULD, KWIM?

Active rest means doing something but at a much lower intensity and that doesnt tax the same muscles. So I might not go running or to the gym, but I might take my kids to the park or to the beach and play or go for a gentle hike. It means staying moving, but not EXERCISING. Staying at a level you wouldnt consider exercise. (playing a round of golf maybe)

Cross training is trying to boost cardio while doing a different activity to target different muscles. I cycle, even though I hate it and am incapable at doing it at a high intensity, because it works complementary muscles in the leg that dont get enough work running which stabilizes my knees and helps me run better. I swim because I can get a kick butt cardio workout with virtually no skeletal stress. And sexy arms.

Ilene
03-23-2007, 10:26 PM
I've read that it's not a bad thing to take a week break after 12 or so weeks of continous workouts. I don't do that but every few months I feel super lazy, like this week, and I just don't feel like working out, so I workout less and with less intensity, but I still workout...

As for running I think the rule of thumb is to run every second day 3-4 times/week as to not injure yourself, give yourself a break and you should increase your mileage only by 10% per week...

almostheaven
03-24-2007, 01:12 AM
To me, there's a big difference from how I feel in the morning when I just don't want to get out of bed vs. when I'm exhausted. One day I was feeling exhausted and didn't listen to my body, got up and exercised, and had a bad session, plus felt like garbage all day. The next time, I listened, slept for an extra hour, and felt a LOT better. Was able to get right back on track the next day, too.
Yeah I went through this myself just a couple weeks ago. I just felt tired. And I figured it was just that it was a rainy day and I just had the blahs. Didn't wanna exercise. But I forced myself to get on the stair stepper, figuring I'd feel better once I got going. I couldn't go as long as usual. It was wearing me out much quicker. So I stopped. IMMEDIATELY after I stepped off, I got dizzy then got hit with a wave of nausea. I had that stomach virus and it hit me hard after trying to workout when my body really was tired and it wasn't just tired in my head. I couldn't tell the difference. I really just felt "tired" before exercising. Not sick or anything. So this was a case of when my body might have been telling me, but it wasn't saying anything different than what my mind tells me when I just don't feel like exercising.

Zorak
03-24-2007, 08:44 PM
1. I've always taken weekends off. Weekdays are for work! :p

Breaks are great to let your body recover and to give you a mental incentive to stay on plan. Knowing that I have a break coming up is motivation enough to press on in the occasional bad week.

2. a. 5 days a week/50 minutes
b. Walk/Jog with Mondays being the "long" runs. The rest of the week I do intervals.