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Why Athletes Need Rest Days

Published on February 01, 2024

By Laura Matera
FCA EVP of Action Sports

Athletes are often pushed to the brink with grueling practices, travel schedules, schoolwork, off-season training and a constant pressure to reach peak performance. They push their bodies during training and competition, which is why rest days to recover are so important. It’s necessary to allow our physical bodies time to rest and replenish.  

But did you know that rest is for more than just our physical bodies? Rest is what’s truly needed for the athlete who’s on the brink of mental, emotional and/or spiritual exhaustion.

Jesus extends an invitation to get away with Him, to step back and recognize what’s most important.    

The Gospel of Mark shares the words of Jesus as He challenged His physically exhausted followers to shift their ways and try something new:

“… Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” -Mark 6:31a

Jesus begins with the instruction to change locations, to get away to a place without distractions. A quiet, remote place leaves us exposed to God, where we can hear His voice and give Him a greater ability to nurture our heart and mind. Jesus also gives us the command to rest in that space. Rest brings relaxing refreshment and the recovery of our strength.  

After time away of true rest, we can come back and be restored to a regular level of activity. Balanced health grants opportunity to not only perform well in all spaces, but it grants greater capacity for relationships with our family, work and sport. As we compete and serve our teams, there is an opportunity to model health in all areas of life.  

The word “rest” is part of the word “restore.” To rest means you cease work, relax, refresh yourself and recover strength. To restore means to renew, to re-establish, bring back into use. To be restored, we must enter into rest. There is power in slowing down and trusting God to handle things while you set aside a time to rest.  

Are you personally experiencing weariness in body, mind or soul? What is the first step you can take today to step away from the chaos of culture’s fast pace and pursue rest?  

Read the rest of the article to read why athletes need rest days.