Al­ways think­ing to skip your work­out?

Find out when to go for it and when to give your ex­er­cise rou­tine a miss

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - Fitness - W

It is time to work out, but some­thing is stop­ping you – maybe you feel a cold com­ing on, or you have a full stom­ach, or you sim­ply do not feel like it. But are any of these rea­sons a valid ex­cuse to take the day off from your work­out or should you lace up your sneak­ers any­way?

We asked the ex­perts which sit­u­a­tions call for a day off, and when it is ac­cept­able to carry on with your fit­ness plans.

IF YOU HAVE A COLD De­pends…

“If you have a stuffed-up nose and are only just sneez­ing, go ahead and work out – it will most likely help to clear the con­ges­tion,” says strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Rob Jack­son.

How­ever, avoid in­tense work­outs – that means no High In­ten­sity In­ter­val Train­ing (HIIT) or long pe­ri­ods of car­dio. Ses­sions that go for over 90 min­utes ac­tu­ally sup­press im­mu­nity, as do back-to-back daily HIIT ses­sions.

“Ide­ally, you should walk out of your work­out ses­sion feel­ing like you have got plenty more to give,” says Rob.

If your symp­toms are be­low the neck as well – for ex­am­ple, a cough or body aches from a fever – then your im­mune sys­tem is in over­drive and work­ing re­ally hard. That means you should skip the ses­sion and fo­cus on rest and re­cov­ery.

YOU ONLY ATE AN HOUR AGO Go for it…

“Un­less the meal you just ate was a large meal or one heavy in fat or pro­tein that takes longer to di­gest, it should not hin­der your work­out,” says ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist Jen­nifer Small­ridge. “In fact, light ex­er­cise like a walk or a bike ride can ac­tu­ally aid di­ges­tion.”

Be mind­ful that work­ing out too hard after eat­ing can cause blood to be di­verted away from the gas­troin­testi­nal tract and into the mus­cles, which can cause a cramp.

“Use the talk test,” says Jen­nifer. “If you can hold a con­ver­sa­tion com­fort­ably while work­ing out, that is a good level of in­ten­sity.”

Also avoid heavy strength train­ing for around two hours after eat­ing. This in­creases pres­sure in the ab­domen and you might feel a bit sick do­ing this on a full stom­ach.

YOU ARE NOT EN­JOY­ING WHAT YOU ARE DO­ING RIGHT NOW Skip it…

Spend time an­swer­ing some ques­tions to help find a work­out you will love in­stead.

“You need to find the rou­tine that pushes your de­light but­tons,” says mind, body and soul coach Kathy Yvanovich.

Ask your­self what is go­ing to make you happy about your work­out – do you love be­ing around other peo­ple or pre­fer to ex­er­cise solo? Do fresh air, na­ture and even a bit of rain make your heart sing – or do you pre­fer to be in­side? Do you like to com­pete with your­self or oth­ers?

“Look around to find the work­out that of­fers those things,” says Kathy.

If you are com­pet­i­tive and like ex­er­cis­ing with peo­ple while be­ing out­side, try a sport like ten­nis, for ex­am­ple. If you want to work out with oth­ers but hate pres­sure and bad weather, sign up for a fun class like Zumba in­stead.

YOU ARE ON MED­I­CA­TION Go, but with ad­vice…

Some drugs do not mix well with ex­er­cise. Those with di­a­betes may need to ad­just their in­sulin-dose as ex­er­cise al­ters glu­cose lev­els – and, in the longer term, makes the body more sen­si­tive to in­sulin, which is a good thing. The antibiotic ciprofloxacin (pre­scribed for prob­lems like uri­nary tract in­fec­tions or food poi­son­ing) may weaken ten­dons, which could be dam­aged if you are do­ing high-im­pact work or lift­ing weights.

Be­ware of ibupro­fen if you are train­ing hard. In­tense ex­er­cise tem­po­rar­ily in­creases per­me­abil­ity of the gut lin­ing – and ibupro­fen in­creases this ef­fect. This may af­fect nu­tri­ent ab­sorp­tion or in­crease risk of food poi­son­ing for a few hours.

If you are on a new drug, check with a phar­ma­cist about any ex­er­cise in­ter­ac­tions.

IF YOU ARE HURT FROM YES­TER­DAY’S SES­SION De­pends…

First, as­sess your pain. “If it is a dull ache when you move or stretch, chances are, it is just mus­cle sore­ness caused by a pre­vi­ous work­out. This is nor­mal after train­ing, par­tic­u­larly if you have done some­thing new. Fur­ther move­ment may ac­tu­ally help,” says Rob. How­ever, if your pain feels more like a sharp stab than achy or if it is there even when you are not mov­ing a mus­cle, that may in­di­cate an in­jury and you need to rest that area. If it does not clear up after a few days, see a doc­tor or phys­io­ther­a­pist for ad­vice.

YOU ARE TIRED De­pends…

Ex­er­cise en­er­gises the body and mind so it is nor­mally a good idea to get on with do­ing your work­out if you are just feel­ing a bit low on en­ergy.

“A nice trick is to prom­ise your­self you will work out for 10 min­utes and if you are still tired at that point, you can stop. Most of the time, you won’t,” says Jen­nifer.

How­ever, if you feel more tired than you nor­mally would at that time of the day or you sus­pect your body might be fight­ing some­thing off, take some down time. Go again when you feel more en­er­gised.

YOU WILL STRESS OUT IF YOU DO NOT GO Skip it…

“Feel­ing overly guilty or anx­ious about ex­er­cise – for ex­am­ple, stress­ing be­cause you can­not work out due to an in­jury or be­cause a so­cial or work en­gage­ment in­ter­feres with your nor­mal ses­sion – can be a sign of an un­healthy re­la­tion­ship with ex­er­cise,” says Dr Joann Lukins from Peak Per­for­mance Psy­chol­ogy.

This can oc­cur when we get hooked on the buzz from a work­out, or as­so­ciate it with weight or body im­age is­sues. If this is the case, tak­ing a break is one of the best things you can do.

Con­sider speak­ing to a psy­chol­o­gist or an­other men­tal health pro­fes­sional about how to re­bal­ance your re­la­tion­ship with ex­er­cise.

YOU SIM­PLY DO NOT WANT TO Go for it…

“Of­ten, the thought of ex­er­cise it­self is what pro­hibits peo­ple from ex­er­cis­ing. Once you ac­tu­ally get mov­ing, you en­joy it,” says Dr Joann. She says that a lot of time, we do not want to do a work­out be­cause we are fo­cus­ing our thoughts on “what” – what you have to do to get there, what you could be do­ing in­stead.

“Spend some time fo­cus­ing on the ‘why’ – why do you want to ex­er­cise?” she says. “Be­cause it keeps you healthy, be­cause you will live longer, be­cause it makes you feel good. What­ever your rea­son is, the ‘why’ thoughts are usu­ally far more mo­ti­vat­ing.”

YOU ONLY HAVE 20 MIN­UTES Go for it…

“Why miss an op­por­tu­nity to train just be­cause time is short? You can train ef­fec­tively in short bursts if you use higher in­ten­sity,” says Rob. For best re­sults in a short time, stick to ex­er­cises that work ma­jor mus­cles and use whole body move­ments – rather than moves like bi­cep curls that work small ar­eas.

“My favourite speedy rou­tine is a short warm-up fol­lowed by a cir­cuit of 10 burpees, five push-ups, 10 box jumps, five TRX rows and 10 medicine ball slams. Do as many cir­cuits of this as you can in five min­utes, and take a one-minute break. Re­peat the cir­cuit twice more, then cool down.”

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