Should I exercise or rest?

Exercise. It’s one of those things that you often really need to motivate and push yourself to do. As mummy to 3 children I know what it is like to be a little bit on the jaded side….. or what it is like to be so darn tired you are hardly thinking straight and haven’t noticed your top is on inside out (that was me yesterday). 

So the question is when do you need to push yourself to exercise and when do you need to rest? I struggle with this one. Big time.  As someone who teaches Pilates I often have to go and just do it anyway because it is my job.  What I find is usually it makes me feel better. Exercise is amazing as it can energise you, relax you, remove your stress and leave you feeling pumped up ready for the rest of the day. However if you are unwell it can also zapp your energy levels and leave you feeling worse than before. So the key is to know when to Go Go Go and when to STOP.

Part of self care is moving and stopping. The balance between collapsing on the sofa and watching TV or doing 30 minutes of activity that helps fix your body is a toughie.

Here are the times I think you should REST:

  1. If you are unwell with a virus/bug. It may seem obvious but it can be tough to do for some people. This is totally relevant right now with Covid-19 (see guidance on this below). We all take different times to recover, so rather than judging by someone elses recovery do listen to your body.  If you are older, have a weakened immune system and know recovery takes you longer generally then BE KIND TO YOU. 
  2. If you have had COVID-19 then some extra thoughts for you. Some people appear to get a mild version, some a much worse version. This will determine your recovery rates, so if you have been really unwell do not expect to bounce back to exercise. Instead take it slow and build your fitness back up. When you are ill, your pulse rate is generally a little higher than normal, particularly if you have a high temperature or are a little dehydrated. Exercising too hard will push your heart rate up higher which could send you backwards in your recovery. 
  3. When your body just wants to sleep and you know you have been over doing it. Maybe you have had a lot of late nights working or up with children. When you are so very tired you are more likely to injure yourself so if you do exercise keep it gentle. A walk or gentle stretch maybe.
  4. If you have just had a baby then it is also key for your body to rest and heal. Whilst walking and gentle movement in the first 6 weeks can be good to do, you do not want to over do things. The 4th trimester is a time to let yourself heal, to be with your baby, and to let your nervous system calm down.
  5. For some women the heavier days of their period are times to also rest or take exercise in a gentler way. Exercise can help boost your mood but progesterone and oestrogen levels are lower which can leave you tired. Swap high intensity work for resistance training, pilates or walking and see how it feels. Ultimately listen to your body!
Photo by Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash

If you are looking for some Pilates you can do from home then we have daily classes running or you can use our membership portal for £10 a month access to a whole pile of Pilates video content.