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Does your body NEED a break?

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Old 03-21-2007, 01:05 PM   #1
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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!!
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Old 03-21-2007, 01:19 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 03-21-2007, 01:40 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 03-21-2007, 01:51 PM   #4
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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?
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Old 03-21-2007, 02:19 PM   #5
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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!
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Old 03-21-2007, 02:19 PM   #6
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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.)
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Old 03-21-2007, 02:34 PM   #7
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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!
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:23 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:29 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:33 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:37 PM   #11
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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?
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:43 PM   #12
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Shelby, as long as it feels right to you, it's fine. Your body will tell you when it's being overworked.
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:44 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 03-21-2007, 04:46 PM   #14
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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/o.../aa062499a.htm
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Old 03-21-2007, 04:58 PM   #15
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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.
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