Opinion: Don't Workout Today

DON’T Workout Today!

Believe it or not, there’s a time and place for skipping workouts without it affecting your progress. In fact, it can actually help you in the long run.

Here in the city, it’s become a badge of honor to be more stressed out and busy on a day-to-day basis. The more stressed out and busy you are, the more you “win.” It’s part of NYC culture: more work, more play, and more working out.

I’m in the same boat here, and I’m right there with you. But all of this comes at the expense of sleep and recovery. Couple that with simply living in the city itself (with its noise, traffic, construction, and throngs of people), and this leads to increased sympathetic activity of the nervous system. In other words, we becomes wired for stress.

Not only are we constantly in “fight or flight” mode, we’re also not giving ourselves the chance to relax and relieve ourselves of stress. This isn’t just a mental thing; the body feels it, too. Even if you don’t think you’re tired, your performance and workouts suffer if you choose to push too hard on a regular basis.

Many people view working out as a therapeutic activity that allows them to get their frustration out through sheer effort and brutality.  This feels great on a periodic basis, but in the long term it will just add more fatigue to an already loaded and stressful lifestyle.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been cutting out one workout day from my weekly schedule in favor of something relaxing. You should do the same. Go for a walk in Central Park, sit by the river and watch the sunset, or meditate.  Anything you find relaxing that you normally can’t fit into your schedule because you “have to” workout. An hour of this instead of a workout during the week can do wonders by promoting more parasympathetic activity of the nervous system (“rest and digest”) and improving both your mood and sleep quality.

by Dan Cerone