You’re dedicated to physical fitness. Every week, you have a set gym routine and you stick to it. Nothing can get you off your game — that is until something happens that throws your schedule out of whack. The good news is, it’s OK to skip your workout every now and then. You don’t have to feel bad about not showing up to your gym class or foregoing your at-home workout in some situations. So, stop having that guilt party, and rest assured that you’re perfectly normal.
Here are six completely legitimate reasons for skipping your workout.
1. You’re sick
If you’re not feeling well, don’t push yourself to workout. You’ll not only feel worse but also put the health of others at risk. It’s best to stay home and take care of yourself so you can avoid prolonging your illness or getting other gym goers sick.
Some experts say it’s perfectly fine to exercise if you have a mild cold, but if you have a highly contagious illness, such as the flu, or if you have a fever, you need to stay home. Sports medicine expert Lewis G. Maharam told WebMD that the real danger lies in raising your internal body temperature. “The danger is exercising and raising your body temperature internally if you already have a fever, because that can make you even sicker,” said Maharam.
2. You’re tired
Are you completely exhausted after working overtime or from a night out with friends? If you’re so tired you can barely move, it’s best to stay in bed and catch a few extra z’s. Exercising while tired could put you at a greater risk of injuring yourself because when you’re not fully awake, your coordination suffers. It’s not worth the risk if you can barely keep your eyes open.
Furthermore, sleep deprivation can negatively affect your mental performance, according to a study published in the journal Sports Medicine.
3. You’re injured
Working out while injured could make your injury worse. Unless you want to end up in the emergency room all day, you’re better off sitting this one out. Once you’ve recovered and received medical clearance, you might be able to do a modified workout. You can use this time to work on other muscle groups or try a new type of exercise. Just make sure you run it by your doctor first and ask the gym’s personal trainers for assistance when you need it.
4. You don’t have proper footwear
You might not give much thought to your feet, but they’re a very important part of your workout. Taking part in an exercise program with footwear that is not meant for that particular workout can lead to injury. If you hurt your foot or some other part of your body badly enough, you won’t be able to exercise at all, so choose your footwear with care.
5. You have something more important to do
It’s OK to have a life. There will be times when you have pressing obligations like a family function or childcare issues. Don’t put gym time before other important things that must be attended to. The gym will be there when you get back. During the times when you have other things competing for your attention, just accept the fact that you won’t always be able to stick with your workout schedule. Don’t feel guilty about it.
6. You recently had surgery
If you recently had surgery, your body needs time to heal. Your focus should be more on getting well than looking good. Sure, exercise is good for your mind and body, but it’s not a great idea to put your body under more stress. To be safe, check with your doctor so you can get a realistic timeline of when it’s OK to return to your regular workouts. A general guideline before resuming your regular schedule is to make sure you have the basics down first.
Dr. Bill Sukala advises mastering the activities of daily living (such as climbing steps and household chores) before you even think about engaging in a more strenuous workout routine.
No matter which workout you choose, always put safety first. Here are some resources for getting the most out of your workout routine. Remember to always check with your doctor before starting your exercise program.
- Harvard Health’s 10 Tips for Exercising Safely
- University of California’s Exercise Safety and Guideline Recommendations
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