Five signs you need to take a break from exercise

No pain, no gain.
The validity in that archaic saying has certainly been blurred as the days when coaches withheld water from football players or athletes pushed through despite competing with torn ligaments are long over.
While it’s true that pushing the body hard is the way people get bigger, stronger and faster, it’s also important to know when to say when.
From hard-core athletes to weekend warriors, one of the toughest questions we have to answer is when’s it time to take a break from exercise?
Here are five factors that should caution people to think about taking some time off before resuming strenuous physical activities. Use the time off to re-charge your body or rehab an injury. (Note: Seek a doctor’s consultation if you have health changes that last more than a few days).
1. Prolonged pain – If a hamstring, calf muscle, etc. seems to be sore every time you train lately, consider taking time off to heal it or begin a rehab program for the affected body area.
2. Poor performance – If your training lately just hasn’t been up to par, you may need a few days off or might want to change up your workout routine.
3. Dip in energy level – The get-up-and-go just isn’t there like usual, and/or once you are into the workout you feel flat. Take a few days off to rest and then come back with renewed intensity.
4. Poor hydration – This can bring you down in a hurry, especially now that we’re into the warmer months. If your urine is darker than usual, it’s a likely sign that you’re not drinking enough fluids. Take a break for a day or two, get properly hydrated and try again.
5. Change in health – When you get a cold or flu, be smart about working out. Generally, if no fever is associated with it, you can still put in a workout, but rest if you’re running a temperature.
The human body is an extremely complex biological “machine.”
While consistency is the key to reaching optimum physical health, be aware of these warning signs that you may need to slow down or seek medical attention.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your body is to take a little time off and then you’ll come back stronger.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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