Time: 15 minutes
Designating a few days of the week as rest days from working out is a necessary part of any weekly exercise routine. It allows your body to recuperate properly, helps you avoid overexertion, and gets you ready to tackle your workout the next day with renewed vigor.
However, rest days can also be a tricky, potential black-hole, as one day might turn into two, which turns into the weekend, and then all of the sudden you realize you have been “resting” for the past two weeks. Oops.
Engaging in light physical activity on your rest days will make sure that you don’t fall off the exercise horse, and gets you excited for a full workout the next day. My two suggestions for your rest day is to do some stretching and light cardio. These will still burn calories and release endorphins, but are also enjoyable enough be considered recreational.
A Rest Day Stretch Routine:
- Sit with your legs straight out in front of you, lean forward, and try to touch your toes. Alternate the intensity of the stretch by keeping your back straight while you lean forward, then after 30 seconds allow your back to curve, reaching forward even further, and try to touch your forehead to your knees.
- Keeping your left leg extended, bend your right knee to the side and bring your right foot into your inner left thigh. Lean forward and try to touch your left toes for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat on the right.
- Bend both knees to the side and bring your feet together as close to your body as you can for the “butterfly” stretch. Increase the stretch by pushing down on your knees to get the sides of your legs as close to the ground as possible, then reaching forward with your hands until your forehead is as close to the ground in front of you as possible.
- Straighten your legs to either side so that you are sitting in a comfortable straddle position. Keeping your torso facing forwards, lean to the left while extending your right arm up and curving over your head so that you are trying to touch your left foot with your right hand. This will stretch both your legs and your side abdominal. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides and try to touch your right foot with your left hand. Finally, lean straight forward and walk your hands out in front of you, keeping your legs in the straddle position.
Light Cardio for a Rest Day:
- Go on a leisurely walk, hike, bike ride, or swim.
- Play a friendly game of basketball, racquetball, golf, tennis, or whatever sport strikes your fancy.
- Drop-in on an aerobics class at your local gym, community center, or studio. Fun aerobics options include Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Step, and Tai Chi.