Why you should not feel guilty about rest days

If you feel anxious about a day without exercise, you need to read this.  Why you should not feel guilty about rest days…

Rest and recovery IS part of health and fitness

Rest and recovery forms part of a balanced life and any quality training program.  Rather than thinking of rest as a break in your exercise, could you start to see it as part of the entire picture of your health?


Even athletes have days off

Even athletes have days off, easy days, and their training ebbs and flows over the year around events.  Think of AFL professional footballers – their career depends on them keeping up a high level of fitness right?  Now think of their off-season and their recovery days.  Would their coaches allow them that time off if it negatively affected their health and fitness?  Nope.  They have an off-season and recovery days in order to reduce their risk of injury and illness and keep them performing at their best.


But isn’t daily intensive exercise the ideal?

I’ve seen too many people fall into the trap of thinking that ‘more is better’ when it comes to exercise, and they’re fearful that a day off or an easy day will negatively impact their fitness goals or their health. Many people believe that doing intensive exercise seven days per week is the ideal that we should all strive for. This is so far from the truth!

The amount of exercise that is a good balance for you will be different to someone else.  How much exercise is too much?  There are a number of factors you can consider in working out the right balance for you and whether your relationship with exercise has moved away from moderation and into excess, compulsion or dependency.  Check out our article for guidance.  If you’re regularly feeling anxious or guilty about exercise I encourage you to read it.


Repair and replenishment leads to improvements

Recovery, rest and easy days allow your body time to repair and replenish, which is imperative for any improvements. You’re not allowing your body to get the full benefits of your training if you’re thrashing it all the time, and you’re sending your body into your next training session depleted if you’re not allowing enough recovery in your week.


Smart training is about adaptability.

Your routine should be tweaked and changed according to so many factors including:

  • injury
  • energy levels
  • stress levels and other mental health factors
  • whether you’ve lost the enjoyment, or it’s waning
  • amount of sleep you’ve had
  • if you have an event coming up
  • or have just completed one… (and so many other factors!)

It’s not about sticking to the routine no matter what. You need to let go of feeling like you lack commitment or ability if you have to veer from your plan or routine.  You shouldn’t feel guilty about easy days, or days without exercise – it’s intelligent training!

It’s about being smart about the big picture – your long term health and happiness.


Niggling injuries, fatigue, lethargy, frequent bouts of illness, a drop in exercise performance can all be signs of overtraining. Many people can suffer none of these symptoms for a long while and then crash in a heap.


Everyone needs rest and recovery in their week, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you.


The Moderation Movement Ebook Movement Handbook