For many, taking a day completely off from exercise can be disastrous. One day off from an exercise routine can make it more difficult to stick with healthy eating habits or make it more difficult to continue to exercise the next day. However, our bodies need rest to recover from a strenuous workout regiment. So what is someone who wants to consistently follow a healthy lifestyle to do? Take an active rest day! All an active rest day is, is a day to spend doing easier physical activity that you enjoy so you can give your body a break while still being active. Not sure what makes good activities for an active rest day? Here are few ideas to get you started.
If you love the water and have access to a pool, then swimming can be a great option for your active rest day. You don't have to swim laps and it should not be strenuous, just enough to get your heart rate up and get the blood flowing. Remember, the goal is to get moving while still allowing your body to take a break to recover. So don't act like you are training for the Olympics.
Have a trail near your house or a shopping center that is walking friendly? Then put on your shoes and just get out there. Feel free to look around and enjoy your walk, but make sure that you are keeping a high enough pace that it increases your heart rate slightly. Since you will be taking it easy, why not bring your children, pet or a normally inactive friend along? This is a great opportunity to share fitness with those you love without discouraging them with an intense workout.
Playing with Child or Pet
Too many times we forget that playing is a great way to get our heart rates up and relieve stress. Luckily, children and pets will always be there to remind us that we need to do it every now and then. So get out to the park or even just walk into your backyard and start having fun. Run around, slide down the slide, throw a ball, it does not matter so long as you get out there.
If you feel like you really need to get something done on your active rest day, then housework could be a great option for you. Mow your lawn, scrub your tubs, vacuum, re-arrange furniture, clean windows or work in your garden. Not only will you be keeping active on your “day off” but you will be getting things done that you might normally put off to fit a workout in.
Yoga / Stretching
Do deep breaths, long movements, soothing thoughts and challenging poses sound like a good way to spend your time? Then consider taking up Yoga or basic stretching on your rest days. This type of movement can challenge your body, get your blood flowing and help your muscles recover from previous workouts. Consider picking up a good yoga mat and DVD to get you started if you have never done this type of exercise before.
So don't worry about taking the day off from intense exercise any longer. Use these simple ideas to get the best of both rest and exercise when your body needs a break. Your body will thank you for the break and you will be ready to get right back to your routine at full strength.