A perfect body does not just make heads turn but also takes you places. Slim and trim is the mantra today for good health and success in all walks of life. The need to be in great physical shape has led fitness freaks to relentlessly follow exercise regimens or workout at the gym seven days a week, without a break. Bodies are driven and pushed to the limit. Muscles are untiringly pumped and stretched to achieve a dream body.

Many girls look longingly at ice creams and sweets, but will not have a bite. All this punishment just to acquire that size zero figure to flaunt! They march to the gym, the only picture in their minds, being an hour glass body. We often hear of girls who faint and men who injure their muscles after exercising for long hours. However, in the craze to attain a sculpted body, one aspect of fitness is overlooked. Rest, like exercise, is vital not just for health but also to build muscle. Dr. Revathy Vikram says, “Muscles should not be overtaxed. Training overworked, tired muscles does more harm than good. Muscles have to recover fully before they are made to endure additional stress. When too much strain is inflicted on the body, the muscle fibres may get damaged wasting all the effort, energy and time spent on exercise. Muscles need to be restored and healed. Thus, short breaks in between workouts or extended periods of rest, depending upon the type, intensity and duration of the exercise, are a must to prevent or wear and tear of muscles. Without rest, we abuse our body, and this will make us unfit even to perform normal tasks. Watch out for symptoms such as aches and pains in the joints and muscles, fatigue, tremors, headache, increased heart rate and inability or difficulty to complete a workout.”

More is not always better. One should know where to draw the line between strenuous exercise and what’s sufficient for one’s wellbeing. Healing and recuperation of muscles take place not at the gym or during an intense work-out but when the individual is resting.

Yet fitness freaks worry all the time about not getting enough exercise.

Their obsession with fitness makes them feel guilty about taking a break. Assuming rest to be a sign of weakness or lack of willpower, they carry on exercising and end up harming their bodies.

It’s important, therefore, to listen to your body. Take a break when it indicates that you need to rest. Even the creator rested on the seventh day!

Keywords: exercisefitness