I pretty much exercise every day. Most days that amounts to three dog walks of a mile each and a bike ride or two of 10 to 30 miles. As a retired guy, I have the time and energy to enjoy bike riding nearly every day of the year despite living in Chicago, a bona fide four season city.
This morning, however, turned out different. I breakfasted and took poochie for her walk. When I got home, however, I found I was not looking forward to riding as I usually do. The idea of taking the bike out just felt like a lot of work that I didn’t want to do.
So there I sat, in the age old quandary of ‘the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ What could be wrong? Looking back on the week, I had logged 45 miles on the bike which is pretty good for a winter week in Chicago. But I had also walked to see the doctor on Monday and then walked equally as far on Thursday to bring my iPhone in to the Apple store. Those walks amounted to an additional three miles of walking each day. Also, my body is currently fighting off an attack of bursitis. See the item about my elbow here.
So, I concluded that my body was telling me something that my mind wasn’t fully aware of yet. Namely, that I shouldn’t ride the bike today. Generally, I try to listen to my body. I am a senior citizen and realize that I can’t always do the kind or amount of physical activity that I want to. Indeed, one of the challenges of aging is handling the balancing act between getting enough exercise to work my body and not overdoing it and setting myself back from an injury.
So, I bagged the bike ride today and also didn’t do my usual trip to the health club to compensate. I am writing this at 7:00 p.m. I have laid low all day. I expect to wake up with more energy tomorrow.
In answer to the question in the headline, yes, I think it can be okay to take downtime from exercise. Downtime gives your body a chance to recharge and refresh. Enjoy the rest and don’t waste any time feeling guilty for missing a workout.