A friend and co-worker of mine recently wrote a blog post on taking rest days. I started writing a comment when all of a sudden it was at least three paragraphs long and I realized I had enough material for a blog post myself. This is in response to his.
The base line is – I don’t believe in rest days. My arthritis (and I really hate to describe it like that because it assumes old age) is still so unpredictable that one day I will send those 11s but the next I won’t climb the stairs but then three days later I will be at the gym.
I am a firm believer in training as long as I can, for as long as I can because one day I might not be able to. Over the last 18 months I have gotten very good at reading my body. I can tell when there is good pain – the kind from exercising, and bad pain – the kind that tells me I have tweaked a joint in the wrong way. Usually, I can muscle through both.
Maybe that is self-destructive, ok, it is self-destructive…but doesn’t every athlete have that kind of mentality sometimes? We all want to be stronger than the pain we are in. It is not good. For me, it comes out when I am angry. My brain is telling me to stop but I keep going. I push myself harder, to do better. It is like I am daring my body to break down more.
I was speaking to another co-worker and he reminded me that there was a difference between active rest days and days when my body will not allow me to climb. That is true. That is absolutely true. Given the instability of my condition, though, there is no guarantee that an active rest day will allow me to train the next day. I could nap with my pets and watch Netflix all day and give my body the time to recharge, but that does not mean I will feel refreshed. My health can be totally counter-intuitive.
To be honest, though, even if I did feel recharged, I know me. Once I am at a state of rest, I remain at that state of rest until some outside force moves me. Once I am going, I am like a rock (hah…) rolling downhill, I do not stop and I continue to gain speed.
All that said, the minute I feel that tweak or “pop” in one my joints, I take a step back. I do not stop but I do lower the intensity of my exercise. At the end of the day, I don’t want to exacerbate my condition.
I may not believe in rest days but I do believe in dialing down, especially when my body tells me to.
Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.