You know that momentary guilt you feel when you *know* you should be working out, but you're pulling your blanket over your head instead? There's absolutely no need to feel this way! As much as we'd love to be one of those people who doesn't believe in cheat or tamad days, here are some instances when it's a good idea to skip the gym:
1. You need more sleep.
Yes, you read that correctly. Sleep is an essential part of your fitness routine. If you're genuinely feeling tired, dragging yourself to the gym might not be the best idea because 1) you'll be too tired to go hard, and 2) the risk of hurting yourself increases: "Too much fatigue can reduce motor skills and increase the risk of injury, especially in a movement-based class like Zumba, kickboxing, or CrossFit," exercise physiologist Pete McCall tells SELF.
2. You're already injured.
No pain, no gain? Ehhh... Not in this case. If you're sore from a previous workout, light exercise could be beneficial, but when you're experiencing excruciating pain, "too much movement can place a lot of stress on the tissue and keep it from properly healing," McCall explains. You need to know the difference between soreness and injury. Let yourself heal, girl.
3. You're feeling under the weather.
We know some people like to exercise when they're sick... Something about sweating out the toxins? Like pain, a fever is an indication that something is wrong. When you're sick, your body is already working twice as hard to fight the virus! The last thing you want to do is take away from that by exerting too much effort in the gym. Also, your gym buddies don't need you spreading your germs. Stay in bed!
4. You just got a bikini or Brazilian wax.
For this one, we're not saying you should skip your daily grind completely, but maybe opt for exercises that won't irritate the area you just waxed. Running or cycling should be avoided because, according to dermatologist Jessica Krant, M.D., "excessive friction and pressure" could cause irritation.
5. You just got a tattoo.
Anyone who's ever gotten a tattoo knows that a fresh tat needs time to heal. Getting sweat on your new ink could cause an infection. Plus, we all know gyms are breeding grounds for germs. As with waxing, you want to avoid causing friction in that area; so depending on where you got your tattoo and how big it is, low impact workouts could still be doable.
6. You have a bad sunburn.
Ugh, the worst. So when you've been scorched, you're at "risk of heatstroke, sunstroke, imbalance of electrolytes, dehydration, and overheating," Krant cautions. You should NOT be exercising; you should be in bed, drinking lots of water, and lathering your body with bottles and bottles of soothing cream. You should literally calm your skin (and yo' damn self).
7. You just ran a marathon (or did something equally challenging the day before).
As a rule, you need to be alternating your workouts. Doing intense exercises in a row isn't good for your muscles or joints. It can cause long-term injury because you're putting too much stress on your body; it needs time to repair. Chill, your #fitnessgoals aren't going anywhere.
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