You’re dripping in sweat, breathing heavily, and the endorphin high just kicked in. Yeah, you just crushed a super tough workout and you feel on top of the world. So, you should totally do this every day, right? Not so fast. Intense workouts are great for reaching fitness and aesthetic goals, but easy workouts have their merits, too. Here’s why:
You’ll avoid overtraining.
Along with rest days, easy workouts give your body time to recover. Pounding your joints and fatiguing your muscles days after day, even with adequate fuel, isn’t good for anyone. Your muscles rebuild when you rest, and if you never rest, you’ll feel it. You might overtrain, leading you to have a hard time focusing, sleeping, or motivating yourself to work out or eat healthily.
By taking a few days a week to enjoy some gentle yoga, a nice walk, or even a low-intensity session on the elliptical, you’ll keep your muscles moving, but eliminate some of the stress.
You’ll keep your hormones happy.
We all know exercise releases endorphins.
But it also triggers cortisol, a stress hormone. Yes, exercise is stressful to the body. And if you’re perpetually stressed already, whether it’s about school, work, social life, or the future, exercise can just add to it. Too much cortisol can lead to everything from digestive issues to weight gain to insomnia. Not cool.
Regular exercise is great and tends to decrease cortisol, but too much of intense exercise elevates it. So back off a little bit.
You’ll give your mind a break.
You may be the biggest overachiever and lover of hard workouts in the world, but at some point, you’re probably going to struggle to motivate yourself to get to the gym. Obviously, rest days give you a bit of a mental break, but easy workouts help you get in some movement while also relaxing.
You’re busy, and maybe you don’t give yourself time to catch up on your favorite show, read a magazine, or scroll through Instagram. You can do that when you’re not pushing yourself to your limit at the gym! It takes some serious mental strength to power through HIIT sprints and heavy lifting routines. If you give yourself a few days of easier workouts, you’ll have the energy and motivation to crush your tougher ones, too.
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