Let’s face it. Fun is often exhausting. Even with getting a good night’s sleep regularly, sometimes the body has just had enough. It can be hard to decide when that is, though. How can we decide if some exercise will help us perk up and get the blood flowing versus push us to the edge of harming ourselves?
Strangely, I think that having a documented workout routine can be helpful in this process. Rather than letting it be a slave master, it can show me how much me I’ve really done. It can encourage me that I’ve been meeting goals overall, and that taking a break is not just another day of not doing anything.
Then, there is the skill of knowing how your body feels. That is something that can be fine tuned with time. Getting it wrong a day or two won’t generally hurt you, but you’ll know better next time. One funny indicator for me is giving myself permission to decide against my exercise. If I immediately feel a great sense of relief, it was probably a good choice. If I feel like I got away with something, I might be better off going ahead with the original plan!
Don’t forget to take into account what else has been going on in your life. Some life circumstances are emotionally draining. These might mean that a cut back in exercise is reasonable, but often keeping up with some exercise is good for the general state of mind. It can just be harder to fit in the schedule AND it can be easier to end up injure, if you exercise “too expressively.”
It is helpful to have a few exercise buddies who can help evaluate and give advice about this. People who understand how important your exercise routine and goals are to you, but can be trusted to ease you in the right direction about your decisions. My husband/coach is very good about this. My daughters also say things that relieve my mind when I’m struggling with the question. My friends on the Barefoot Runner’s society are also give each other good advice about this.
There might be some things that would require you to burn the candle at both ends in order to regularly exercise. Take a deep breath and remember you can begin again. There are some benefits to not having your livelihood depend on your exercise routine.
So, even though I may seem to be all about routine and regiment, that is just the plan to guide and direct. Not the absolute reality of every day. I exercise for fun and to make the rest of my activities more enjoyable. If I have reached a tipping point with that, it’s time to evaluate, and probably rest.