As much as you may feel as though you're being great to yourself by pushing through your workouts every single day, you might be surprised to discover that it's actually good for you to stop exercising every now and again. This certainly doesn't mean that you need to stop doing your workouts, but what it does mean is that you need to have certain days built into your workout schedule that are meant exclusively for rest. In fact, depending on the type of training you do, there might even be several days at a time that you should use for holding off on the workouts.
Here are some excellent reasons that you can be guilt-free about staying home from the gym every few days and skipping a workout occasionally:
• Rest days give your muscles the time to grow – as much as strength training is amazing for you, the process actually causes tiny tears to occur within the tissues of your muscles. The only time this can be repaired is during times of rest. The repair process is actually the time in which your body becomes stronger. It's what causes more fat-burning lean muscle to form. So while it's great to train hard, it's also good to remember the importance of recovery time.
• You can lead to a plateau in your weight loss through overtraining – if you work out too frequently or with intensity that is too great, it may not bring on the anticipated rapid weight loss. In fact, it can cause the body to resist weight loss because the body will shift its metabolism so it doesn't suddenly burn off all its energy stores (fat). It is far better to take breaks by skipping a workout when you feel overworked, so your body will be more open to steady gradual weight loss.
• Overtraining can cause problems in hormonal balance – this is especially true with the menstrual cycle. Women who train too intensely without breaks can actually go so far as to experience amenorrhea, which is a lack of menstruation. While menstruation may not be the best time in a woman's month, it is still an important part of the health of her body. When it fails to occur as it usually does, it can be a sign that other problems are building or are already present. In this case, it can lead to a reduction in estrogen which can then cause premature bone loss.
• Sleep struggles – yes, exercise is very important to being able to get a good night of sleep, but exercising too much can lead to insomnia and fatigue. Skipping a workout every now and then prevents this from becoming an issue.