If you Rest, you Rust

I have to tell you, the cool phrase above was yelled over the shoulder of a dear older gentleman at the gym early this morning.

If you rest, you rust.

Rest is good, and required, but the capacity to move is a use it or lose it ability.

I remember springtimes back on the farm, trying to get tractors and equipment moving that had been rusting away during the off-season. The mowing machine I used for weeks on end the previous summer, would seized up to the point of needing a long sit with vast quantity of WD-40 just to get it to the point where the mower bar would slide back and forth in its channel. It doesn’t take long!

Your body is just like that. If you choose not to move, you will be able to move less, at first, when you do choose to move. The range of motion you had before, will be narrowed significantly. At some point, due to injury or atrophy it may never return to what it was, but the good news is that often you can restore lost range of motion by working right up to the limit of that range and a bit past it, under supervision, and you can gradually stretch that range.

But if you’re not yet there, don’t let yourself get there. Rest, sure, but choose to be somewhat more active than you feel like being. I of all people know that when you’re just starting with exercise, you feel tired, sore, and tired of being sore, pretty much all the time. But as you slowly build up your point of exhaustion, you can find yourself doing great things. Don’t rust out!


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