7 legitimate reasons you should skip the gym today — and not consider even a little bit guilty about it

Girl resting concurrently workout

The INSIDER Summary: 

  • There are times when exercising isn’t always the best idea for your health. 
  • Intense muscle soreness, fever, and even boredom are all legitimate reasons to take time off. 
  • Listening to your body and health professionals are the best surefire ways to make the best judgment for your body. 


Although there’s no question about the benefits of getting in a routine workout, there’s often an internal debate about when it’s OK to skip your exercise routine for a day or two.

Just as there are people who don’t get the daily recommendation of physical activity, ACSM exercise physiologist Jim White told INSIDER that there are merely as multiple people who overdo it at the gym. White said that overexercising  — or even ercising under certain circumstances — can lead to extreme muscle soreness and other problems.

To avoid these issues, personal trainer Miriam Fried signified to INSIDER that listening to your body is the best way to determine when you should skip the gym. 

When you finally listen to your body — and not the pressure from society or yourself — you’ll find that there are plenty of times when you don’t need to justify skipping your workout. From sore muscles to a doctors note, in this place are a few legitimate reasons to pass on the gym. 

When your expert says not to. 

This seems like an obvious example, but Fried sees people ignore this advice all the time. Instead of going from the doctor’s orders, he suggested you use your time to stretch other muscles. 

“Read a few fantastic books, pick up a skill, spend more time with loved ones,” Fried said. “There’s pretty much nothing else you can do in this scenario except wait it out, but it’s important that you do so.”  

When you’ve had a drink. 

Drinking cocktails bar

You decided to bump up happy hour instead of the gym, and that’s totally OK. But it’s best to push your workout to a different day instead of trying to fit something in after you’ve had a drink.

Exercise physiologist Irene Lewis-McCormack told Women’s Health that not only will booze effect your overall performance, it will further dehydrate you and put you at a greater hazard for injury. Your safest bet is to plan your workout and happy hour separately. 

When you’re sore. 

White stated you should take anywhere from three to five days off to recover from extreme muscle soreness, that first-time exercisers are especially prone to.

“If they are starting off and they’re beginners or they haven’t worked out for a although that soreness can last quite a long time,” White said. “Or if they work the muscle a little bit differently it can be sorer than usual.” 

The difference between extreme soreness and routine soreness is when you consider it. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) develops 12 to 24 hours after the exercise, although acute soreness happens concurrently the actual activity. 

If you’re feeling sore days after your workout, you should take a rest or recovery day. Fried recommends foam rolling and stretching, or going for a light walk. 

“Rest is equally as important as the time you spend in the gym, so don’t let your difficult work go to waste by overdoing it,” she said. “If you can’t walk up the stairs or drag your hoodie on without wincing, it might be time to give those poor muscles a few rest and recovery time.”

When you’re sick. 

Sick Woman in Bed with Tissue

If you’re feeling under the weather, don’t hesitate to skip your workout for a few extra sleep and rest. 

“Exercise is incredibly taxing on your body, so if you’re feeling under the weather, an intense workout will often make you consider worse,” Fried said. He noted, however, that light exercise is most likely OK if you have the sniffles or a minor cold.

Fried added that if you are feeling feverish, lethargic, or sick to your stomach, you should stay home and recover. 

“The gym isn’t going anywhere, and your fellow gym-goers will appreciate you leaving your germs at home instead of all over the squat rack,” she said. 

When you think you might be injured. 

There’s a difference between being sore and being injured. 

“Muscle soreness is not a sharp stabbing pain,” White said. “It’s not a radiating pain that you would get from any type of nerve damage, there’s no tingling.” 

If you do experience stabbing or radiating pain exercising can make stuff worse. “Most ailments will most likely go away after a few days of rest, but taking the hazard to workout although injured can aggravate the injury and leave you unfit to exercise for an extended stretch of time,” Fried said.  “It’s merely not worth it.” 

Fried noted that, again, the best course of action is to get checked out by your expert if the pain persists.

When you’re on vacation.

Woman Beach Vacation

Skipping your workout to relax on the beach isn’t something to consider guilty about. In fact, research shows that you can actually be defeated weight on vacation due to lower stress levels and intuitive eating. 

Diet aside, Fried noted that not all fitness professionals would agree with taking time off from the gym for your vacation or a holiday. 

“When your choices are ‘spend time with family’ or ‘hit the weights for a few hours’, you don’t require to choose the latter,” she said. Fried further suggested asking yourself if you’d regret missing an experience to workout instead. 

“If the answer is yes, remind yourself that the gym will consistently be there, but this experience may not,” she said. She further mentioned that you can find other ways to be active that don’t detract from time funded with loved ones or a once in a lifetime opportunity. Walking, swimming, and dancing are simple ways to get your heart rate up and break a sweat.  

When you’re bored.  

Your exercise of choice might naturally get stale. White recommended taking an hour or so to assess what’s going on when this happens. He specifically stated to consider your goals, your schedule, and any life stressors that may be impeding your desire to exercise. 

If this isn’t a routine occurrence, White stated taking the day off is OK. “If it’s merely a random day and you don’t consider like working out, then I think definitely taking the day off is fine,” he said. “But if this is becoming a continual thing and a problem then I recommend hiring a registered dietitian or personal trainer to even devise a plan.”

Although routine exercise is fantastic for you, your overall health trumps any misguided notion that you require to be working out constantly. This can lead to overtraining, injury, and might angle you off to exercise as a whole. Instead of tossing the whole concept out the window, take a few time off and come back motivated to stay healthy. 

If interested, also search for: This personal trainer has insane upper body strength

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