Great questions, I’ll take a swing at a few answers for you:
I vary my exercise on my current goals and my workload for the day. If I’m going to be outside moving heavy things, I don’t worry about my scheduled lifting session. If we are going for a long hike as a family, I skip the long run.
I take Mondays off, the most I’ll do is a slow walk to the library or something similar, but I don’t consider that exercise, I love to walk and I do a few miles on a daily basis no matter what other exercising I’m doing.
At times, I’ve taken my “normal” workout days off for vacation etc. I don’t feel guilt because I know that I’m working out for health and longevity and to enjoy life. If I am skipping a day of working out to enjoy life, isn’t that the purpose? It doesn’t make sense to work out so you can feel good and live a long/prosperous life, and then feel guilty when you take a day or two off to enjoy feeling good and enjoy your health/mobility/relaxation. If you simply can’t do that, you might be an endorphin addict.
Bottom line, why are you working out? Your exercise regimen should support that goal. If you don’t have a “why” then think on it. Are you working out in a certain manner just because you’ve fallen into a routine and you don’t want to change/disrupt it (I’ve been there)?
Are you comparing yourself to the amount of working out you see others doing on facebook etc (take time off of social media?). I quit using a program that gave you points for exercise when I realized I was doing “just a little more” to maximize points, not for maximizing health.
What standards are you holding yourself to? Are those standards realistic in light of everything else going on in your life? I have a slack job and kid is older, I have lots of time to work out but I have MANY other hobbies and interests as well, just because I could work out three times a day, I’d never do that because life is too full and that would take too much energy away from other things like family care, reading etc. In addition, the more you workout, the more recovery time you need and “might” impact longevity. Having read as much as I can about blue zones and longevity etc, the most common exercise mentioned is walking…
- Answer your “why am I working out”
- Decide on a goal to reach (xxx miles a week, xxx growth in biceps, xxx pullups etc)
- Decide on how to reach that goal
- Realize that the purpose of working out isn’t to work out, the less you can do to achieve the goal state above, the better, the more time and energy for your family, less is more!
- Schedule your workouts around your life
- Be flexible, if life gets in the way, that’s what its there for (living!)
- Don’t compare yourself, your workouts, your gains to ANYONE else, especially random strangers on the internet
- Enjoy life! Enjoy your family! Enjoy your health!
By the way, you may find that reducing your level of exercise actually leaves you feeling better long term, you’ll have more total energy daily, more creativity, more juice to do those things you might not be doing because you put so much time and energy into working out, just to be working out. Take some time off, see if your desire to do those “things on the shelf” come back.
Best of luck!