There are so many benefits to exercise, from the obvious physical improvements to the more obscure, psychological ones.

No matter how you sliced it though, exercise/movement is fundamental to the function and health of your body.

However, there are times when I suggest not working out.

At these times we need to “work in”.

We live in a culture that worships outputs more than it values input.

It’s seen as heroic, for example, if someone gets up at 5am to get a workout in before a busy day “kicking ass” at the day job.

But would we really have as much reverence for the person that decided to stay in bed and sleep more to make sure they are fully recharged and energised?

I meet more people that need to “work in” to achieve their goals than people who need to “work out”.

It’s a fallacy to think weight loss means you need to sweat yourself to death to be in shape. Especially if you have some level of adrenal fatigue.

Working out in such a case would make any and all symptoms you already have, worse! Including excess body fat.

In its simplest form this is because adrenaline is one of three primary hormones that need to be in balance for all others to function correctly.

So when should you consider NOT working out?

  • If your energy levels are below 6/10
  • If you have long term neck, shoulder or back pain
  • Physical improvement has stagnated/getting worse (putting weight on, injuries etc)
  • You are aware of increased body temperature (perhaps night sweats)
  • Low sex drive
  • Poor sleep quality (less that 7 good hours of sleep)

If we deplete an already empty energy tank your body will be going into debt. The debt needs repaying.

We still need to move however, so picking a form of exercise/movement that will allow you to build energy by the time you’ve finished is the best choice.

Below are some example of what that might look like:

  • Your usual exercise programme but at breathing pace (one breath = one rep)
  • Tai chi/Qi gong
  • Stretching and mobilising
  • Walking (with mindful breathing)
  • Certain types of yoga
  • Riding a bike (at aerobic level only)

The take away for today: Listen to your body and when it says don’t workout, repay the debt and “work in”.

Your health will improve immeasurably if you can adopt this approach.