4 (Good) Excuses to Skip Your Workout

Healthy excuses to skip a workout


Most of us can come up with an endless variety of creative excuses for skipping a workout. However, this isn't always the case for the more dedicated or elite athletes who will often push through pain and illness and exercise when they really should take a rest day or two. Such commitment, while admirable, could actually do more harm than good. Here are a few legitimate reasons for skipping exercise and focusing on rest and recovery.


1. When You Are Sick

If you have a cold, flu or just feel run down, skip your workout for a day and rest. Exercise stresses the body and makes it work harder. If you are also battling a bug your immune system may not have enough energy to fight off infection. Experts tend to agree that if your symptoms are from the neck up (a head cold) you can likely work out, but why risk prolonging illness? When you don't feel well it's a far better idea to rest, hydrate, sleep a lot and eat well than to sweat through a tough workout. If you feel up to it, take a moderate walk and do some stretching, but save the hard workout for another day. 

2. When You Have an Injury

Exercising with an injury is just asking for more pain and makes it far more likely that you will wind up with a chronic condition or overuse injury. Pushing through aches, pains, and strains and other warning signs of injury is never a good idea for an athlete.

If you have an injury, modify your workout in a way that protects the injured part or uses entirely different muscles and joints. For example, if you have a sprained ankle, switch over to kayaking. If you have a shoulder injury, try the stationary bike for a while. Exercising an injured part before it is fully recovered will, at best prolong the recovery, and at worst cause a permanent problem.

Play it safe and be sure you are completely healed before you return to your typical workouts. For peace of mind, consider working with a rehab specialist, a physical therapist or a sports medicine physician if you are unsure about when you can return to sports or how much you can do at a give time after an injury.

3. When You Feel Emotionally Fatigued or Burned-Out

It's not uncommon for athletes to occasionally have a bout of mental or emotional burnout or a wiped out feeling due to overtraining. If you train hard all the time and never take time out, you could be suffering from overtraining. Exercising to the point of overtraining is a serious risk factor for all kinds of problems including illness, injury, depression and decreased performance. If you find that your enthusiasm for workouts has disappeared, or you feel tired, sluggish or just don't have the energy to do a full workout, take a day off. If you see your performance decreasing, or feel moody and irritable, you could be overdoing your exercise. Check out the signs and symptoms of overtraining and take some time off if you recognize any. Such warning flags may just be your body telling you to take a break. 

4. When You Are Sleep Deprived

Quality sleep is the secret of athletic performance. Numerous studies link more sleep with improved sports performance  and less sleep with  poor sports performance with a lack of sleep. If you haven't been sleeping well, have jet lag or just feel mentally hazy, skip the workout in favor of a nap. Sleep is a key factor for athletic performance and in some cases may be more important the getting in one more training session.  

Make these four reasons to hang up your exercise shoes part of your training plan, and you may avoid being sidelined when you actually would rather be working out.