When It’s A Good Idea To Rest Instead of Exercise
Some of us are tenacious as a dog with a bone about exercising regularly, while others will grab at any excuse to avoid working out. Most of us fall somewhere between these extremes.
Whatever our natural inclination is, we know that engaging in exercise consistently is the only way to reap its benefits for glucose control and overall health; however, there are a few legitimate reasons to skip or modify our usual regimen.
For people with diabetes, having low blood sugar is one of the reasons to at least postpone exercise until healthy glucose levels are restored. Other respectable grounds for altering or missing a workout are:
- Exhaustion. A good night’s sleep is as vital for health and diabetes management as exercise. So, a poor night’s slumber can be a good enough reason for sleeping in instead of rising early to workout.
- Feeling depleted, drained, or “bone tired” can also indicate an exercise-free day is in order. This type of fatigue, if it persists, might be owed to problems with glucose regulation or other medical condition, and requiring a doctor visit.
- Injury. It’s important to avoid activities that produce stress and pain at an injury site, but we may not have to skip exercising altogether. If an arm or shoulder is injured lifting weights, we can still walk or ride a stationary bike. With a sore knee it may be possible, even beneficial, to swim or engage in water aerobics.
- Schedule Overload. It makes no sense to counteract the benefits of exercise by overextending ourself to do it. If our schedule is too full for a calm drive to the pool plus 45 minutes of swimming laps, then letting it go for the day - or doing yoga for 20 minutes at home instead - makes good sense.
- Below Neck Illness. Exercising when you have a simple cold may be beneficial since an increased body temperature can help destroy the offending virus. However, common sense might dictate skipping, or toning down the regular workout.
- When we have a fever, or experience symptoms below the neck (e.g., general fatigue, body/muscle aches, coughing/chest congestion, vomiting/nausea/ cramps) we are better off laying low a day or two than we are pumping iron or playing racket ball.
- Serious Soreness. It can be normal to experience mild muscle soreness when beginning a new type of workout, or increasing an exercise regimen. The soreness is caused by minor inflammation - and the natural rebuilding of muscle - after increased activity has made micro-tears in our muscle fiber.
- It’s okay to exercise with mild soreness as long as the activity level is tempered by common sense. However, when we overdo a new exercise, and soreness is intense or extreme, our muscles may need a few days rest to recover.
We start losing the accumulated benefits of regular exercise after just a week or two of inactivity, so skipping workouts is not something to make a habit of. Yet, well-being is a balancing act, and sometimes maintaining a healthy balance means adjusting our usual activities, or taking a break from them.