Regular exercise and workouts help maintain physical and mental health. However, too much business in workouts may lead to burnout. You may get bored and feel discomfort while going for exercise regularly. To prevent workout burnout, one may take a pause that helps to be relaxed. But is it good to take a week off from working out?
Many benefits are associated with taking a week off from working out, including recovery, increased performance, reduced boredom, and increased enjoyment and motivation. Also, when you give yourself a hard time, the chances of injury increase. To decrease issues related to working out too much, it is a good idea to take a week off from working out.
Getting off from workout for one week has positive as well as some negative impacts on your workout routine and body structure. However, do your research before you decide to take a break from working out to ensure you know the benefits and drawbacks associated with it. Read on to find out more.
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Is It Good To Take a Week Off From Working Out?
Generally, power and strength gains can last about four to six weeks, and cardiovascular improvements begin to diminish in two weeks, according to Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. Based on these findings, a single week off from working out will not set you back.
If you’ve had a pretty intense training regimen for several months or even longer, taking a week off does indeed give muscles some time to recover, minor injuries to heal, and you might find yourself fresher the next time you get in the gym.
But, if you are just developing the workout habit, a week off might lead to breaking a good practice. To prevent breaking good healthy habits into bad ones, try to do some easy workouts to keep up your workout routine. You can recover without endangering your healthy workout habit.
Also, by taking a week off, I don’t recommend you sit on the couch and eat junk for a week, instead try to do some low-intensity workouts, including yoga, swimming, brisk walk, or any physical activity to keep yourself active.
It is also an excellent practice to incorporate massage, acupuncture, and, most importantly, lots of sleep for better recovery.
In addition, taking a week break from working out helps you recover from fatigue and body stress. A week will have minimal impact when adequately managed.
More importantly, ensure you stay active and don’t become a couch potato to keep yourself conditioned and prepared to return to your regular workouts.
Benefits of Taking a Week off From Working Out
Sometimes, taking a rest from a routine workout may increase the chances of positive gains. Here are some benefits of taking a week’s rest from a routine workout.
1- Helps Muscle Building
Regular exercise is good but sometimes it may result in muscle fatigue. When your muscles suffer from fatigue, they can’t strengthen as per expectations. However, a workout break will help you avoid this kind of side effect of exercise.
When you take a rest from a routine workout, your muscles get relaxed. This helps them to grow healthier than growing under permanent stress.
Taking a week off from working out will not cause you to lose muscle mass; instead, your muscles will benefit from this rest time. According to a study issued in the Journal Medicina Sportiva, muscle mass does not actually deteriorate until two to three weeks post-work.
2- Lowers Risk Of Injury
Taking a week off from the gym after rigorous months of training is good. It helps your central nervous system and your joints to recover. You might also see some strength gains improved range of motion as your body has healed.
When you go for exercise regularly, you may get tired and mentally stressed. This may lead to a physical or mental injury.
However, a proper pause after a regular workout will help you prevent such incidents. So, manage to go a week off after some regular workout weeks.
During your week off from exercising, go out for a walk or go for an adventure.
3- Relieves Stress
Modern life is not a leisure life. One has other responsibilities too besides working out. No matter how passionate you’re about your workout routine, you can get mental as well as physical stress due to such an activity.
Taking a break also promotes mental health. Relaxing and shifting from your routine is a perfect way to give yourself a mental break while restoring your energy and increasing your motivation to workout hard and reach your fitness goals.
In addition, taking a break helps prevent potential future burnout and take care of personal issues you might be dealing with, which can reduce stress and anxiety and make your future workouts more enjoyable. To avoid this, you may have a break after some regular weeks of workouts.
4- Helps Handling Other Tasks
In today’s busy life, one can hold some essential tasks to be accomplished at the time of workout, morning or evening. When you go out for regular exercise, you can’t manage these tasks.
To handle such essential tasks, you should go off for a few days after some busy workout weeks. This is another benefit that workout breaks have.
Taking a week off can help you prioritize other aspects of your life, including family, friends, and other hobbies.
5- Helps Sleep Well
For those who hit the gym early in the morning, regular workouts might lead to fatigue and might conflict with your other responsibilities. And, sleeping well is necessary to prevent body fatigue.
If you go out for a workout regularly, you might not find time to sleep. In this case, a break from a routine workout will help you sleep well for a few days.
6- Prevents Workout Burnout
Being a beginner and amateur athlete, you may go out for workouts with enthusiasm. This current fades out after some weeks of regular exercise.
This may lead to workout burnout. To keep oneself always motivated, you should consider taking breaks from regularly working out.
7- Good For Mental Health
Managing workouts, handling home responsibilities, managing office work, and many other responsibilities of life may make you mentally stressed.
To prevent mental stress, consider taking breaks to focus on other parts of your life, such as sleeping and spending time with family and friends. To do this, you may pause a workout as office work can’t be paused.
How Often Should You Take a Break From Working Out?
In general, most physical trainers recommend taking off for one day each week. And, taking a break from a routine workout is very important as it has many benefits.
After 8 to 12 weeks of regular workout, it is recommended to a week off to rest and recharge, particularly if you have been exercising hard for a long time. This will help you train your body and mind well for the next phase of exercise.
However, seven days can also be a little too much, mainly if you stay inactive without any physical activity.
Moreover, taking a week off is also recommended between fitness programs, including switching from endurance to strength training or from hypertrophy or bodybuilding training to another type.
Unless you are taking a week’s break from an aerobics-focused program, ensure you continue with your aerobics work during your time off:
How Many Days Per Week Should You Work Out?
Being a beginner, it’s okay to go out for a regular workout. However, when you are used to a workout routine, you should exercise a maximum of four to five days a week. This will help you keep yourself motivated and prevent bone and muscle fatigue.
If you are pretty fit, adopt a healthy diet, and get enough sleep, your recovery ability will improve, and taking off one to two days per week would be adequate for you.
However, you can also exercise every day if you vary your exercises and the intensity of your workouts, according to most fitness experts.
Is 2 Rest-Days a Week Too Much?
Taking 2 rest a week days from working out will help you become more muscular because it improves and repairs your body from all the running and exercise you have been doing.
Depending on your health and fitness goals, I recommend you take a week off every 4 or 5 months of heavy training; it will make you stronger and healthier.
Signs You Need a Rest Week
If you are unsure whether you should go off workout a week or not, some signs can help you confirm this. Here are some symptoms that show you should have a week off.
- If you feel that your heartbeat remains high no matter whether you are resting or working, go out for an off week.
- If you always feel tired, take a week’s rest from the workout.
- If your mood is not synchronizing with your workout routine, go for a rest.
- When you feel that your feet or other muscles always remain swollen, pause the workout.
- When you are feeling sick, taking a week off is good thinking.
- If you feel your workout is going bad regularly, pausing such exercise will result in nothing.
- When working out is not changing your physique, it’s better to have a week off.
- When you feel bored or demotivated, go for an off week. After some leisure days, you’ll feel motivated again.
How Often Should You Be Taking a Recovery Week?
Generally, it is a good idea to take a week off working out every six to 12 weeks if you work out consistently at a good intensity, according to Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. Based on these findings, a single week off from working out will not set you back. Even though it might appear counterintuitive to you, it leads to greater results and wellbeing.
Taking a week off from the gym is best when you have been working hard over time, lifting heavy weights, and working out with high intensity. Then taking a 1-week break will let the body recuperate and rebuild. It also enables the body to break out of its routine.
Taking a Break From Working Out to Lose Weight
Taking a break from working out is beneficial to help you lose weight because resting allows your muscles to heal, rebuild and grow. And when you develop more muscle, you will burn more calories at rest as muscle burns more energy better than fat.
In addition, taking a week off exercising and running will make it more enjoyable and motivate you to stick to your fitness routine.
How do you expect your body to recover and lose weight if you put in long hours of high-intensity endurance activity every day and don’t give yourself a break?
The chronic, repetitive, daily endurance activity is counterproductive to losing weight. But, don’t sit and indulge in junk food on your rest day. Instead, focus on aerobics exercises and a healthy diet.
What Should You Perform On Your Rest Day?
Even though it is good to take a few days off to improve your fitness and training, it is not a good idea to take a prolonged break from exercise because it will be hard to restore your wellness.
Performing moderate to high-intensity exercise one day a week can help maintain fitness, mainly when you cannot exercise as regularly you can.
However, if you want to take an extended break from exercising, here are a few things you can perform to maintain your fitness level and stay healthy and active.
The following workouts are great to keep you in shape, and they require no equipment.
- Jogg or Sprints
- Brisk walking
- Stair climbing
- Yoga – According to the American Council on Exercise, yoga can help you build core strength.
- Dip Workouts
- Chin up
- Pull ups
- Other outdoor sports are an excellent ways to stay active without using a gym include hiking, biking, rock climbing, and snow skiing.
It is important not to resume your workout routine at the same intensity and frequency as you left off, even though you may feel motivated to restart again.
Exercising too aggressively after taking a break from working out can lead to significant soreness and possible injury, possibly impeding your progress. Always be patient with your progress and consistent in your workout.
Regularly working out for over 8 weeks may become boring leading to demotivation. This is generally a sign that you should take a week off from working out.
Don’t forget to add an off week to your workout routine to reap the tremendous benefits of taking breaks.