Genesis 2:2 – “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.”
Who has time to rest?! Apparently, the Creator of the universe thought it was important… on this seventh day, He is setting an example for us to understand that rest is a critical part of what it means to be human. Let’s discuss the importance of physical and mental rest.
I recently returned home from a two-week vacation to Florida. My parents live on Merritt Island, so every year we spend a week with them and then spend a week with my in-laws at the location of their choosing. This year, it was Panama City. Why do we vacation? The goal for most everyone I know is to relax, enjoy themselves, and rest! We’re trying to get just a small reprieve from the “real world” by not having to go to work, napping whenever we want, and probably eating whatever we want as well! You may not be able to take two weeks to go to Florida or the beach of your choice, but I must encourage you to consciously take time for yourself to rest. Don’t tell me you don’t have time. If you think that’s the case then you’re doing something wrong and eventually you’ll run yourself into the ground. Life will make you as busy as you want to be and then some… find what it is that can give your mind a break. Mental breaks from everyday stresses are required to keep your sanity. But physical rest is just as important.
These past two weeks, I took the opportunity to rest my body as well as my mind… and my joints are celebrating my decision! When it comes to weight lifting, many people make the mistake of thinking more is better. If hitting chest once a week is good, then hitting it three times a week will make my bench go up even more. (insert loud buzzer sound resulting from a wrong answer!) This mentality will lead you down a road of overtraining injuries and plateaued gains. You aren’t getting bigger and stronger in the weight room. That “pump” you feel is actually your body’s response to what it believes to be injury. When you sprain an ankle, blood rushes to the ankle. Why does blood rush to the injury? Because blood brings with it all the body’s healing properties. So, while you’re lifting, you’re actually tearing your body down. It’s when you’re resting and eating that you’re giving your body the chance it needs to repair and come back stronger! How much rest do you need? There’re no absolutes for this question. It depends on many factors. Unfortunately, the older you get, the more rest you’ll need to recover. A good rule of thumb is that if your muscle is sore, don’t lift it! Give it one more day! Your body will thank you in the long run!
I’ll refrain from giving you the “get more sleep” lecture but I must mention it considering this is where the majority of your recovery, both physically and mentally, is happening. Again, I understand what it is to be busy. Regardless of your schedule, it’s imperative that you consider my plea to rest! You’ll grow faster and perform better in every area of your life if you’ll just take some time to rest! Have a great weekend and get some rest!