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“To Rest is to Rust.”

I am reading a book titled Easy Strength written by one of my favorite strength training coaches and an author, Dan John. He is a strength training coach whose writings are thought-provoking. You are immensely lucky if you stumble upon writings of a strength training author who is intriguing. He has highlighted a quote by Jack Dempsey in the book. Dempsey was an American professional boxer who held the World Heavyweight Championship from 1919 to 1926. Dempsey says, “To rest is to rust.”

Likewise, a gym client complained to me about his back ailment. On the outset I felt that nothing seriously could be wrong. I told him that it would be better to continue doing physical exercise, for that may alleviate the pain. Subsequently, the pain eased and he felt better. On the flipside, you could have made a big deal about the pain and stopped doing physical activity and that would not have helped you whatsoever. In many of the cases, it may turn out that physical exercise may be the savior. Moreover, as Dempsey says rest can be detrimental.

I will corroborate my point by stating what Frank Forencich, an internationally recognized leader in health education and performance training, says about back ailments. He says, “Obviously, back pain creates doubt in the body. Safety of movement is called into question and the body begins to wonder what will happen in movement. But bed rest does nothing to address the issue. If you lie still for a few days or weeks, the pain may get back of life, you will still have to face your physical doubts.

In contrast, activity provides a convincing answer. By going about your normal routines of daily living, you convince your body that, even with pain, no harm will come, and that is really safe to move. By moving, you provide evidence and build a case. By exercising, you convince the body’s mind that it really is safe to move again. This reassurance is immensely powerful. Once the mind is convinced by action, doubts begin to fade and the pain diminishes. In this sense, activity really is medicine.”

So, remember what Jack Dempsey says. Embrace physical activity.

4 thoughts on ““To Rest is to Rust.”

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