A person’s relationship to exercise can fluctuate: Some days mustering up the motivation to get moving can be a challenge, while other times, your stamina is comparable to the Energizer Bunny’s.

I fully support working toward new fitness goals, but adopting a frantic must must-work-out-every-day mindset can be dangerous. In fact, giving your mind and your body time to rest and recover will actually support, not derail, your goals.

Now, that doesn’t mean parking yourself on the couch during every rest day. Instead, try adopting active rest days, where you’re not training or working out intensely, but you’re still getting in some light movement. Think walking, stretching, or doing a short, gentle yoga session.

Rest days should be spent decompressing and prioritizing self-care by getting extra sleep, keeping your body hydrated, eating nourishing meals, and just unwinding.

Breaking out of the mindset that working out every day is the “right” way to exercise can take time. But active rest days are crucial for meeting your fitness goals and for staying safe and healthy overall. Let me share four reasons why: