Should you take rest days as part of your walking routine? Are rest days important? Are they are even needed?
We all know what rest days are, right?
These are the days you just kick back and relax. Or are they?
If walking is your only exercise and often not intense, you really don’t need a total lazy day. Unless you are ill, very sore or otherwise feeling weak, you don’t really need just lie around for a whole day to regroup.
Often, a rest day is just resting from a specific type of exercise. If you’re always doing cardio with walking, you could use a rest day to do some minor to moderate strength exercises. Perhaps look into calisthenics if basic strength training is of interest.
Normally, all you need to do for an official rest, day though is just skip your additional walking you do as your exercise. No one says you can or can’t just have a total relax day. That’s totally you’re choice and you should listen to your body and judge your own needs.
How often should you take rest days?
Like most things when it comes to life, that’s going to be dependent on your needs. For most people, it’s recommended to take 1-2 rest days a week together or separated. I personally like to spread them out more. When I haven’t walked in a good while for whatever reason I may need 3 rest days for a few weeks. I usually keep 2 days off even when I’m feeling in my prime of exercising.
You should try your rest days a few different ways to see what feels right to you.
Are light days really rest days?
What about schedules where you only walk 10 minutes? Are those really rest days in disguise?
It’s going to depend on how much effort you put into those 10 minutes. If you were power walking and it was intense then no that wasn’t a rest day. If you went grocery shopping, though, that likely wasn’t an exercise day.
Only you can judge if you considered what you did on a given day enough to qualify as actual exercise. Anything less than 10 minutes is very unlikely to be enough to classify.
What can happen if you don’t take rest days?
I have experience with this. I once exercised over 120 days in a row. It was rare for me to do the same exercise more than 2 days in a row, though. What happened? Well, I had turned daily exercise into a habit. I knew, as soon as I got home, it was time to change and go do my exercise. I did notice I started to get bored with it and was having to spice up my exercise more and more. I ended up breaking my exercise streak because I slipped and cracked my tail bone, but I doubt I would have kept it much longer anyway. It was mentally tiring to keep it up every single day.
For me, I knew my body and never pushed too hard, but that is a danger as well. You can overwork your muscles if you don’t rest them. You can make injuries worse if you don’t let any minor injuries heal. Don’t make something that should be either enjoyable or at least tolerable into something annoying or disliked.
You don’t want to make walking something you begin to hate.
Take your rest
I hope you now have a little more info on why rest days are usually important. Take them as you need them. Just make sure one rest day or a pair don’t turn into a week or two. Your workout is worth making routine. Your routine should just have slots designed to be for rest and recuperation.
Can’t wait to see you strolling along,