Give Your Body A Break By Taking A Workout Hiatus

The internet is overflowing with different workout routines, often claiming that pushing yourself to your limits is the absolute best way to go about getting fit. Two-a-day workouts, not missing a single session no matter the circumstances, ignoring your body's signals — the toxicity of fitness culture is often overlooked and interpreted as persistence. Whether you're looking to get into shape quickly or consider yourself a gym rat, don't forget the importance of giving your body a break from time to time.

If you're already really into fitness, you're probably capable of enduring a more difficult workout than somebody who's out of shape, but you should still listen to your body. Maintaining your results doesn't mean you never get to hit the pause button. Even though it's often frowned upon in the fitness industry, a workout hiatus might be just what your body needs to perform even better.

How long should the break really be

It turns out that going to the gym every day might not be the best for you in the long run. Alena Luciani, a strength and conditioning coach at Training2XL, shared with Shape, "If you exercise too much for weeks or months at a time, you put your body at risk of overtraining syndrome."

According to Naomi Arbit, a behavioral scientist and wellness coach, a proper break is crucial for getting the most out of your workouts. She told Well+Good, "For a lot of people who push themselves really hard several times a week, they may actually be a little burnt out and not even know it," adding, "Giving your body a rest is essential so that you can exert yourself at a higher level, which you can't actually do if you're just continually going all of the time."

The optimal length of your workout hiatus for a full-body reboot is about a week, according to Jonathan Leary, DC, a chiropractor and founder of Remedy Place. "I believe a week is a good reset — I wouldn't let it go much longer than that," he told Well+Good, adding, "Based on research, an active person can go up to three weeks without working out, and it will not have too much of an impact on their muscle size or cardio output."

The benefits of hitting pause on your workouts

The body is not meant to be constantly under pressure, so taking a break might save you additional stress and possible burnout. Dr. Raj Dasgupta, sleep specialist, tells CNN, "Do anything that makes you feel happy and refreshed. This is about hitting the reset button for yourself, not doing some form of exercise because you feel obligated to."

As much as your body needs a break, your mind does too. It takes a certain level of diligence to continuously motivate yourself, and sometimes it's just not there. Dr. Naomi Arbit emphasizes how much balance is needed for achieving your long-term objectives, adding that "taking a break can allow us to reset our willpower, and refill that bucket so that you can then hit the grind again pretty hard," as per Well+Good.

In the long run, hitting pause for a bit will have you back better and stronger. "The more recovery you start implementing, the more you'll find that your body feels better, and you won't have to put in a huge amount of work in the gym," Dr. Jonathan Leary explains. If you want your workout benefits to last longer, stop once in a while. Take the break — your body will thank you!