Workout of the Week: Feeling Stressed / Overwhelmed? Take an Easy Day

Tony Horton, creator of workout program P90X, leads a warm-up stretch before a calisthenics routine at the southside gym, Ramstein Air Base, Germany (U.S. Air Force photo/Brea Miller) .

If you’re tired or burned-out from travel, working out, or just everyday stressors, sometimes exercising is the last thing you want to do. And there are times when pushing through the stress can exacerbate rather than alleviate it.

Here is an idea when you are feeling stressed or just overwhelmed with life and/or unmotivated to get into the gym at all.

Try a double mobility day. A few years ago, I created the mobility day that is done in the middle of a 5-6 workout week. This has become a weekly event now and, especially after 40 years old, has helped to provide a recovery day in the middle of the week making days 5 and 6 of the week a much better training day. Here is how it works: Find a non-impact cardio activity like biking, rowing, elliptical, or even swimming. Walking will suffice as well if you prefer a treadmill or getting outside and walking instead. Do this activity for 5 minutes.

Then get a 5-minute stretch or foam rolling session in immediately after the 5-minute cardio. THEN repeat the two events 5 times for a total of 50 minutes.

Non-Impact Mobility Day:

  • Repeat 5 times
  • Bike, elliptical, row, etc 5 minutes
  • Foam roll or stretch 5 minutes

Typically, it is best to do this on a Wednesday or Thursday on a Day 3 or 4 of your 5-6 day training week. However, during this time of high stress, loss of motivation, and general listlessness, do the mobility days on Day 2 and Day 4 of your training week.  Double Mobility Day! Then IF, you are still not feeling well and back to normal by Day 6, either take Day 6 and Day 7 completely off as a recovery/rest day, or do a third Mobility Day on Day 6 with Day 7 off.

Sometimes the stresses of life make the added challenges of the day seem like burdens. If you are low energy, motivation, and just burned out, try an easy mobility day or take a few days off.

Make sure you are sleeping well, eating, hydrating, getting your electrolytes if profusely sweating in the summer months. These essential elements of recovery will go much further than another butt kicking day in the gym.  Remember – actively pursuing recovery and maintenance is always a good call, especially as we age and life is more stressful than normal.


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