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When planning a workout program, it’s typical to organize your workouts by the week. For example, you may lift weights three days a week and then perform cardio on the other two days within a five-day program. The two days in-between are considered your “rest” days. But what exactly does that mean? You really don’t have to just lounge on the couch during those rest days. There are other options to consider.

Exercising on your rest days

It’s not necessary to completely rest during your days off. However, you don’t want to have a hard workout on these days either! Instead, look for ideas that will get you off the couch and moving without overdoing it.

For example, if you have a three-day lifting regimen that focuses on a lot of heavy lifting exercises, your rest days could consist of lighter exercises, such as bicep curls.

If your entire workout program consists of heavy lifting, you need to throw in some cardio on your days off. This is a good time to focus on a long walk or jog. You may also consider hopping on the elliptical or stationary bike at the gym on your rest days.

Don’t overdo it

You never want to do so much on your rest days that it ends up interfering with the main workout you have set up. If you want to take a quick 30-minute run around the block between deadlift day and squat day? Sure, that won’t be a problem. A 20-mile bicycle ride? That is likely a bad idea.

How much work you do on your rest days will also depend on the amount of exercise your body is used to. If you have been a triathlete for years, then a long run may not hurt you very much. If you typically walk to work every day, you don’t need to drive just because the day is your rest day. It’s important to use your best judgment. You know what your body can handle!

Just remember, it’s also perfectly okay to do nothing on your rest days. Sometimes you need some time to catch up on sleep or baby your tired muscles. Exercise is important, but there are many other important things to worry about. Read a book, catch up with friends, or enjoy a nice, long nap. You deserve the break!