I have been a start-stop-start-again-er when it comes to working out. Because of this horrible habit, I was determined that this round I was not going to stop. At all. No days of rest. I was too afraid that I would get back in that lull of Oh I’ll just workout harder tomorrow. Only when tomorrow came, I would be too tired to put in the energy for a double workout or something would pop up and I wouldn’t get that workout done. That’s how the Stopping always starts for me. I go a few days, then a week, and soon I catch myself not working out at all. I didn’t want that to happen. The problem with this mindset is that I ended up burning out quicker. If my mind was in that workout space, then my body wasn’t. And that’s a problem when you’re trying to reach a goal. I finally had to force myself to rest. Guess what? Even with resting, I’m seeing results.
Google the effect of not resting enough on the body and you get tons of articles about why you need to get enough sleep. Yeah, sleep deprivation can cause some serious issues. A weakened immune system, weight gain, increase in risks of diseases, and the breakdown of your mental facilities are just some of the issues that can happen when you don’t get enough sleep. So if all of those things can happen to the body as a whole, how does resting relate to the muscles and tendons you’re exercising?
Without proper rest, you’ll end up breaking down the very thing you’re trying to build up. If you don’t take breaks and let your muscles recuperate, you’ll end up weakening your body and falling off the cliff into the realm of injury. Some injuries are forever. Most injuries take at least a year to fully heal, and that’s if you don’t re-injure it within that year.
As an athlete we’re often told to work through the pain. “No pain, no gain.” While that is true up to a point, one should always be careful when it comes to working through the pain. I half-jokingly call myself a masochist because dancing brings on a lot of pain, and I enjoy it. However, I also know the difference between the pain of a good session and the pain of an injury. Unfortunately, not everyone has that knowledge. For me, that knowledge came with the price of experience. I don’t want the same to happen to you.
So here’s the deal, whether you are just starting out or you’ve been exercising for years, listen to your body. If the pain you feel is too much, take it easy or take the day off. No one will blame you. Not even your trainer, if you have one, and if they do…well then maybe you need to find a new trainer. Have goals, keep them in your mind, and know that taking a day to sit on the couch because you’re in “double ouch” mode is still a step to a stronger, healthier you. Happy Exercising!