Know where to draw the line

Within limits Exercise is good but rather than focussing on just the sculpted body one should pay attention to the aspect of fitness

Within limits Exercise is good but rather than focussing on just the sculpted body one should pay attention to the aspect of fitness   | Photo Credit: Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

Exercise is crucial for the body to maintain good health, but so is rest. Too much of exercise produces negative results, HEMJIT BHARATHANwarns those for whom workouts have become an obsession

A perfect body not just makes heads turn but can make you go places too, it is believed. Slim ’n trim is the mantra today not just for good health but for success in all walks of life, in the personal, professional and social scene. The drive to be in good physical shape thus has led many fitness freaks to relentlessly follow their fitness regime or workout at the gym doggedly seven days a week without a break. With single minded focus, bodies are driven and pushed to the limit. Muscles are untiringly pumped and stretched to the utmost to achieve the goals or the dream body one yearns for.

Size zero has lost a wee bit of the sheen, yet many girls cannot enjoy an ice cream as girls did a couple of years ago. They look longingly at sweets, but will not have a bite, punishing themselves for that figure to flaunt. And then they march to the gym, the only picture in their minds, being that hour glass body. We often hear of girls who faint and men who have sprained their arms in the course of exercising for long hours. Most men have a single dream, where six pack abs appear continuously till they are awoken!

However, en route this muscle-hustle to attain a sculpted body one aspect of fitness is overlooked. Rest, like exercise, is vital not just for health but building muscle too in our exercise regimen. Dr. Revathy Vikram says, “muscles have their limit and should not be overtaxed. Working out or training with overworked, tired muscles does more harm than good. For muscles have to recover fully before additional stress is pumped. When too much strain is inflicted on the body the muscle fibres may get damaged wasting all the effort, energy and time spent. They 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 is a must to prevent damage or wear and tear to the muscles. For without rest we harm and abuse our body, making us unfit for normal tasks too. Watch out for symptoms like aches and pains in the joints and muscles, fatigue, tremors, headache, increase in heart rate, inability or difficulty to complete your workout sessions etc.”

More is not always better. This is an important point to bear in mind. One should know where to draw the line between strenuous exercise and wellbeing. For the actual healing and recuperation of muscles take place not at the gym or during intense work-outs but when at rest.

Overtraining and tiring your muscles thus is injurious. It is a setback - retreating two paces behind after advancing one pace forward. Fitness instructors are our best guides to achieve the right balance between rest and exercise.

Yet many die-hard fitness loyalists are anxious and worry about not getting enough exercise.


Their obsession with fitness makes them feel ashamed or guilty to take a break or rest. Assuming rest to be a sign of weakness or giving up their struggle and willpower, they indefatigably and vigorously carry on and end up deflated and harming their bodies.

So remember rest is a crucial part in your fitness programme. It is not a sign of quitting or admitting defeat Listen to your body. Take a break when your body indicates that you need to rest.

For even the creator rested on the seventh day.

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