Are 'Rest Days' from Exercise Necessary?

Ben Greenfield
1-minute read

Ask Get-Fit Guy: Should You Take an "Off-Day" From Exercise?

I’ve been receiving several e-mail questions recently from listeners who want to know whether to take an "off-day" at least one day a week from working out. The answer is …

... Maybe!

A rest day is not really necessary for people who are exercising for just 30-60 minutes a day, and not doing a very high intensity interval based program like P90X, Beach Body Insanity or CrossFit.

The body just isn’t broken down enough by 30-60 minutes of easy exercise, like walking, bicycling, or resistance training on machines. As a matter of fact, the extra calories you burn from that extra day of exercise can really add up over the course of a year!

But you should give your body and nervous system a break if you are:

  • working out for a long period of time each day, such as training for an Ironman triathlon or a marathon

  • working out at a very high intensity level each day

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you lie around on the couch all day on your "off-day." A short and easy walk, swim, bike ride, or stretching session, is usually just fine.

If you have questions, be sure to ask them at the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page, and be sure to forward this newsletter to anyone you think it could help!

Woman Jogging image courtesy of Shutterstock

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.