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The missing factor. Friday July 26, 2013

They are the mantras of every health and fitness book. 'It's all about diet and exercise', 'Eat less, do more', 'Calories in, calories out', 'No pain, No gain' - but there's something missing. I am talking about the third, and critical factor, rest.

Rest is everything from allowing yourself a good nights sleep and doing things you enjoy, to taking a bit of time for yourself everyday.

In our modern lives there is a social stigma attached to taking rest. People brag about their hectic schedules, their all-night work benders that justify a quadruple espresso come morning. We see rest as failure, but it's a fact of life - if you want to be happy, sometimes you just need to take some time for yourself. This time should be embraced, not criticised.

Not many people are aware but, exercise is a stress on the body. After exercise, you are less fit than when you began. Its only through adequate nutrition and plenty of rest that your body uses that stress to build something better. Without this rest you run yourself down. This is true in all aspects of life, this chronic stress (including too much exercise) can increase inflammation in the body.

The Chinese view of Yin and Yang explains this concept well. You have things that take it out of you such as work, money worries and exercise to name just a few, and things that bring it back such as a good nights sleep, cooking homemade food and taking a few minutes out of each day to read this blog. These things nourish your body. A simple expression might be that every time you work 'out', make sure you work 'in'.

If you wake up and that gym class seems too hard, it's ok! Your body is trying to tell you that the balance isn't right. A useful tip is the 2% rule. If you feel you cannot improve on your previous gym session by 2%, give it a miss. Exercising whilst exhausted is a sure fire way to get injured and lose motivation.

Sometimes, when everything except for your moodscope score seems too much, just remember life is a balance. Take some time out, treat yourself and get some rest.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Fri, Jul 26th 2013 @ 8:32am

This is something we often don't think about in our day to day lives, very well put!

Anonymous Fri, Jul 26th 2013 @ 9:54am

Couldn't agree more. But often berate myself when resting or relaxing that I'm not doing anything useful. Will remind myself that I am actually doing something useful for myself on those occasions.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 26th 2013 @ 10:34am

Thank you so much for today's M'scope, I ALWAYS feel such a failure having depression & not being able to cope with life. People say such harsh things- especially when they've never suffered mental health problems. Life can be hard enough without criticism!

Anonymous Fri, Jul 26th 2013 @ 10:03pm

Very good post. Got me thinking about balance in my life. Thank you so much Jake

Anonymous Sat, Jul 27th 2013 @ 6:58pm

In case this matters to you, your work is being plagiarized here:

Caroline Ashcroft Sat, Jul 27th 2013 @ 7:29pm

Thanks for letting us know. We don't mind people using our blogs, but without a credit, that's a bit naughty. I'll follow this up.

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