Fitness and the Power of Rest
Sometimes when life gets really crazy, I workout less. Working out is a means to a healthy body, but sometimes to sustain a healthy body, your body simply needs to do absolutely nothing.
It’s essential to prioritize time in your schedule for physical activity; even if it’s as little as fifteen minutes or a four-minute tabata. For me, finding time to work out has never been much of a problem; it is a very important value of mine, so I make the time. However, it took years of my life, periods of exhaustion, weeks of illness and occasional bouts of damaged muscles to learn that sometimes what the body needs to stay healthy is rest.
Obviously, I learned the hard way to value rest and its overall benefit towards health and REAL fitness. Whether it’s when you’re feeling slightly under the weather, have been traveling too much and your immune system is likely mildly compromised or even those times when life gets THAT MUCH MORE HECTIC, step back and take a mindful listen to what you’re body is telling you. Often our neuroses around weight gain or weight loss is what pushes us towards exercise when our body is giving us clear messaging to the contrary, that what it actually needs is to do absolutely nothing and recuperate.
In some of the high stress situations, what the body needs is to stop pumping cortisol. A little reminder about this oft nemesis that strikes when we are stressed- out: it can lead to substantial weight gain among other illnesses when out of balance. In those times when life is at double overload, more so than the usual overload we tend to live our lives at in America, it is ok to take a break with your scarce free time: give yourself permission to rest. You don’t want to induce more cortisol into your system when you’re already maxed out. Instead, if you really must move, practice restorative yoga, pranayama, meditation or go for a MELLOW hike in nature.
Both physical activity and rest make for a healthy body. A substantial part of self awareness is listening to the body and appropriately responding to what it tells you. So, be honest with yourself, you know if it’s time to give yourself permission for rest or, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re just making excuses and using rest as an excuse to be lazy.