So, I've started a new strength training program (I'll talk specifics about it once I'm further into it.) Anyways, the day after my last workout, I was sore. I did my cardio anyways. It helps to get the blood flowing and can actually help ease soreness.
Then the second day after, yesterday, I was really sore. I went for a walk with my family in the afternoon and the muscles in my leg felt so tight I couldn't even run with my son. I quickly realized I wouldn't be continuing my strength training that evening. I soon realized that I wouldn't even be able to do my usual cardio. (For the record, I don't count family walks as cardio unless I get to go at a faster rate then toddlers usually walk).
The temptation to tough it out and do it anyways was high. For one, I think making exercise a habit and a routine is key in continuing to do it long term. I don't take specific days off. I feel that the intensity I work out at is one that I can do on a daily basis. For another, I feel like I make progress every time I do it and I don't want to stop.
But, there comes a time when you have to listen to your body. If your body is saying, "no, I won't move in this way; If you do that, it's going to hurt", then it means something. Sometimes your body needs rest every bit as much as it needs to work, and if you don't give it that rest, you'll end up injuring yourself.
Yesterday, my body was telling me that I wasn't going to get a workout in. Those muscles were tight in a way that went beyond regular soreness. It wasn't a case of just loosening them up. It was a case of giving them a break. It wasn't the kind of pain that was injury pain, but I feel like it could have become an injury if I had pushed it.
So, I didn't work out.
And you know what? Nothing bad happened. I don't feel like a habit has been broken. I don't feel like it's stopped my momentum. I just took a break and life continues on as normal.