When to Rest

Keep it simple. When you feel like resting, rest. When you feel like moving, move.

Normally, it is recommended that we take 1 or 2 days of rest between each bout of exercise, which is usually about an hour each.

A common method of training in the gym is also to seperate the body parts into different days - leg day, chest day, back day etc. With that approach, you might think it is a very efficient way to build strength.

Why that can backfire is because overtime you start to see your body as made up of different, smaller machines. While there may be some truth in that, our mental perception of what that 'machine' looks like within ourselves alongside the never-ending onslaught of fitness instructors asking you to fire this or that particular muscle make us overthink and increasingly unable to rely on our body's natural intelligence of solving physical problems.

As children, we grow up, get stronger and learn new skills without much of a formal resting and training schedule. We mostly participate in what we find fun or necessary, usually on a daily basis - playing catching around HDB blocks and parks, kicking the occasional ball, climbing playgrounds, attempting to learn how to ride the bicycle or use the chopstick etc.

Our motivation was crystal clear - a potent mix of curiosity, fun and necessity. We move our bodies without thinking too much in terms of bodily segregation or fixed rest periods. We went with the flow and are present with our spontaneous needs.

Much of the fitness industry is driven by the desire to achieve a certain physique. While that isn't immoral in itself and that it is also better to exercise than not do anything at all, it is important to still be aware of that distinction - Looking good and being more in-tune with your body's needs are two very different goals.

Farmers, fishermen, pearl divers, construction workers are all physically strong because they needed to do whatever they needed to do for survival, on a daily basis. They do not think in muscle groups or in a particular schedule of resting but in the necessity of tasks and their bodies adapted to their needs.

So keep it simple. Get more in tune with a sense of curiosity of what your body can do. Let that reserve of ever-flowing energy and your sensitivity to its changes guide you rather than just accepting whatever fitness instructors tell you.

When you feel like resting, rest. When you feel like moving, move.

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