I had a friend call me yesterday and ask me, "how do you do it? How do you exercise everyday and stay so energetic and healthy?" My reply was, "I don't!" He was shocked and confused. "What do you mean you don't?" he said. "How do you go a day without exercise and not feel guilty?"
As most of us exercise regularly and eat right, (OK we do our best to exercise and eat right), it is just as important to get the proper rest you need. This means getting a good night sleep, of course. But, what it really means is that it's OK to take a day or two completely off from exercise.
Your body needs the reprieve from the beating you put on it daily. Everyone's rest days will be different. My rest days vary from what is going on fitness-wise in my life. For example, right now I am training for a marathon, I have 3 days of moderate runs, which consist of 5 to 8 miles, and then on Saturdays i have a long run that can range from 10 to 20 miles.
In order for me to be ready for, lets say, that 20 mile run, I rest the day before and then I also allow a recovery day the next day. I find for me, this has been keeping me injury free and motivated to get out and continue, and to be consistent. Everyone is different, and you may not be training for a marathon, or anything for that matter and that is OK. The point here is to not feel guilty for taking a day off (I know, it's easier said than done). A day off means you're resting your body for its next work out adventure. A day off will refuel your muscles so you can push that little extra bit the next time around.
Listen to your body, though it may take you a little time to understand what it's saying. Try to figure out whether it truly needs a rest, or it's just being lazy. I think most of us know in our hearts when we are just being lazy.
I want you to remember that exercise is important, so make sure you are getting yours in at least 3 to 4 days a week. Also, continue to eat good, healthy meals and take those rest days you so greatly deserve, your body will appreciate it and it will be re-energized for your next exercise outing!
You are stronger than you think!