Should You Take a Day Off Between Workouts?

Q: I have heard that it is necessary to exercise daily, but I’ve also heard that it’s good to take a day off between workouts to rest your muscles. What do you think?

A: You should aim to get 30 minutes of exercise every day of the week; however, this does not mean that you have to exercise to the point of soreness. In fact, doing so may work against you if the pain ultimately keeps you from continuing with your exercise regimen.

Daily exercise also doesn’t mean that you have to work the same muscle groups every day. One day you might focus on the upper body and the next on your lower, this effectively gives the muscle groups a “rest” between workouts.

The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you did overdo it on a particular muscle the day before and are having pain, focus on another area.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at


Jenny H.
Past Member 2 years ago

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ii q.
g d c5 years ago


Joe R.
Joe R5 years ago

A very sensible answer.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla V6 years ago

too boring to read lol

Bon L.
Bon L7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Dace K.
Dace K7 years ago

thanks for advice

Jelka V.
Jelka V7 years ago

Everyone should know that muscles grow during rest, not during the exercises themselves.

But most of all, if something continuously feels like a chore, I don't think it's a good idea to pursue it.
The mind has far greater a role in "fitness" than most people seem to think.

Stefanie W.
Past Member 7 years ago

I always need one day rest per week, it inceases my achievement potential very much.

gail d.
gail dair7 years ago

Great advice

Judith C
Judith C7 years ago

Rest days are important