Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Missing a Day of Exercise
Sometimes you need a day off. Sometimes you don’t need a day off, but you still take it. If you’re worried about what exercise means to you, you may escalate into anxiety or guilt: Am I a bum? Am I losing all my achievements?
Of course not! The day off doesn’t define who you are. But these feelings are quite common, and I myself felt them. Here are a few things that I remind myself of when I start to question my commitment to fitness.
One day doesn’t matter
Being strong, fit or getting in shape is a goal for many years, if not for life. Will you look back on this particular day five years from now with regret? You probably won’t even remember how it was.
Tomorrow is a new day, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’ve ruined an entire week or your entire workout routine. Either skip the day or make up for it tomorrow, whichever makes it easier for you to move forward. (Not sure? Just skip it.)
Rest is useful
A well-designed program usually includes at least one day off per week; some programs may even have three or four. These are all perfectly acceptable ways of training. So just because you took three days off this week, rather than two, doesn’t mean that all the rest of your hard work is wasted.
In any case, your body will find this rest to its advantage. Some people will say that you need a certain number of rest days per week; I don’t know if this is true as long as you deal well with fatigue. But regardless of whether you need a day off, your body can still use it for additional recovery. You will feel more invigorated the day you return.
Focus on consistency
Much of the reason for the one day it does not matter, is that ultimately matters the sequence . If you do all of your workouts for several weeks and you have to skip one this week, you are still the person who does all of your workouts normally.
Maybe you’re afraid that this one day off will send you down a slippery slope and end up taking more days off. Well, it’s within your power! Decide how and when you will return to this horse. Plan your schedule for tomorrow or next week and make sure you can do the following activities.
Solve the problem next time
Why did you even take this day off? If you’ve been feeling exhausted, you may need a more balanced exercise program that doesn’t make you feel this way. Or, if you’re afraid of a particular workout, maybe it’s a sign that you need to change something – either your workout or your way of thinking. If you always skip box jumping workouts, for example, there are ways to get rid of that fear .
Consider your overall plan
Or maybe you feel guilty about missing many days. This is a sign that you may be on an unstable path. Are you so nervous at work that you don’t feel motivated to exercise? Maybe you need more than a day off to see if it relieves the extra pressure. Or maybe you need to exercise before work rather than after to make sure it gives you enough mood lift to get through a busy day. Or maybe you just need to solve a bigger problem in your life. (Talk to your boss about your workload? Start looking for a new job?)
Bottom line: if you feel guilty about missing one day because it is a symbol to you of other things happening in your life, zoom out and see what you can do to fix those other things so that the missing one workout day has become its own trivial problem, not related to the problems that actually bother you.