What happens when you “veg out?” (9/19/10)
Vegging out. You can hack, goof, hang, yet the meaning’s the same – idly and passively doing “nothing.”
But is your body really doing nothing?
Ask a plant. Americans are so used to working and living with machines, and seeing vegetables, fruits and cereals as commodities that magically appear on store shelves like industrial products that we’ve lost understanding of how the natural world works. Plants are growing all the time, more so in sunlight, and their immobility does not mean inaction. If it did, we would have no food to eat, nor wood to create our homes and buildings, not cotton to clothe us. In simple terms, we would not be.
Rest is neither immobility nor inaction. Even when you’re “vegging out” in front of your television set your body is rebuilding at astonishing rates – if only you could see the process. The insides of your cells are getting replaced in hours to days. It’s not just your hair or nails that grow – it’s virtually everything inside you.
And that’s just passive rest. With active rest, you take control of this process that regenerates you every day, so that you can grow more brain cells, more muscle cells, reshape your body and mind, and give yourself a much greater shot at a long, healthy life.
Rest is regeneration. Even when you’re vegging out, you’re remaking yourself anew. However, passive sitting is not the way to go. One recent study showed women who sat six hours or more per day dying at a rate 37% higher than those who moved more. Sit more, die younger.
Or you can follow the way of active rest. Move from that seat whenever you can. Stroll to a work colleague rather than phone her. Walk over to lunch with a friend. Visit a neighbor a ways down the block. Use all the different kinds of active rest, physical, mental, social and spiritual, together througout the day to increase your healthiness and your alertness.
It’s fun to eat vegetables, but there’s no point in becoming one.
Rest, sleep, Sarasota Sleep Doctor, well-being, regeneration, longevity, body clocks, insomnia, sleep disorders, the rest doctor, matthew edlund, the power of rest, the body clock, psychology today, huffington post, redbook, longboat key news