I am very grateful to have the opportunity to teach classes through Howard County Recreation and Parks. The facilities are awesome. I teach in beautiful, airy studios with tons of windows, wood floors, excellent equipment, and friendly staff. My students are the best. The only downside is that my classes run in sessions. And in between the sessions, there are breaks.
But is this really a downside?
According to many, yes. I've had students complain about these breaks, which range from 1-4 or even 5 weeks between sessions. (Our upcoming spring break will be 4 weeks due to planning for snow days which never occurred!) I have even lost students who "loved" my class, but needed to find a venue where they could take the same classes non-stop year-round. So are these breaks a bad thing?
I say no!
I believe there are many important benefits to taking breaks. Here are a few:
1) Rest. In our busy culture, it is almost a sin to suggest one might need to rest. Gasp! How awful! But seriously, rest is just as important as work. If your muscles never receive a rest period, you will only break them down, and never rebuild. Exercise is stress. A good stress, but still a stress on your body. On occasion, it is good to let the body (and the mind) just rest.
2) Switch things up. During your break you might investigate a form of fitness that is new to you. Try riding a bike or kayaking or paddle boarding or cross country skiing. If you normally do aerobics, try stretching or weight-lifting. If you usually swim, try a weight-bearing exercise instead, like jogging or kick boxing. Mixing things up is great for both your body and your mind!
3) Revive relationships. Use the break to reconnect with your spouse, children, neighbors, friends who do not attend exercise class with you, or even your pets! Go for walks with your dogs or your husband. Go shopping with your mother. Go fishing with your son. See a movie or eat dinner with your long lost pal.
4) Remember old hobbies. A little extra time during your hectic week could give you the chance to take up something creative. Did you ever paint? Knit? Garden? Sew? Tinker with mechanical things? Build stuff? Do puzzles? Use your break to make something beautiful. Write a poem or take some photographs. Enjoy your free time!
5) Travel. Take a few day trips if you don't have the resources for an international adventure. But shake things up by seeing new sights. Find a cool place to hike or a cafe with yummy treats. Check out a park you've never been to. (Dogs love new places, so don't forget to bring Fido along.)
These are just a handful of possibilities. Take advantage of the breaks you get by making them meaningful. Try something new. You will return to your normal routine feeling refreshed and renewed!