I never fully understood how significant it was to take a breather every once in a while. I was always a fan of pushing through pain whenever I felt tired or weak. My thoughts towards the whole, “Can’t stop, Won’t stop” mentality were that it would pay off it in the long run because it would make me a stronger athlete; a stronger person.
Rest is 100% detrimental towards your mental and physical health. In fact, not resting is actually counterproductive and can only harm you more in the long run. Pushing through pain does, in fact, make you stronger, but not in all cases. Sometimes, it just leaves you with injury, re-occurring sickness, and just more pain in general. I began realizing the importance of rest and Vitamin C once I moved into New York City.
Growing up, I had a fairly strong immune system. I would rebel against my Mother’s advice to not go outside with wet hair, to always wear a hood when it’s windy, bundle up when it’s cold, etc. Back then, I would never have to deal with the consequences. Unfortunately, as you get older, it takes a lot more effort to keep your body in tip-top shape. The rebellious acts that I would perform as a child don’t quite work in my favor now that I live in a germ-invested city where only about 1 out of 10 people wash their hands after using the restroom and no one around you covers their mouth when they cough. This makes people, who live in a large city such as New York, very susceptible to catching the common cold- And the rapidness in which you can get sick is astonishing.
This past winter, up until today, I have been sick approximately 6 or 7 times since December 1st, when I first moved to New York. My body hasn’t adjusted well to the drastic changes in temperature along with a combination of a lack of proper nutrients, surrounding germs that make their homes in the city subways, training for a marathon, and an improper sleep schedule. In addition, my inner child would overcome me and I would rebel against layering up during my long runs in Central Park when high winds were blowing in my direction.
Ultimately, my poor judgement and overall lack of common sense led me to getting sick about every 2 or 3 weeks. It’s just awful.
Like an open wound, your body needs to heal itself. It takes a lot of time and patience, but jumping back on the horse before you are ready puts you at great risk of falling right off again.
My advice to myself and any one who is reading this:
When you are in pain, feeling weak, or feeling sick, just TAKE A DAY OFF
Allow your body to heal itself, and you will feel ten times better during your workout and throughout the entire day.