I absolutely hate the saying, “No pain, no gain.”
In a world where everyone is constantly striving to do more and be more, I think the fitness industry sometimes goes a little far. The truth is, there is nothing to gain from being in pain.
Exercise is important and obviously an integral component in maintaining good health. However, pushing yourself past what your body can do defeats the purpose. “No pain, no gain…” Okay, well, you don’t just go run a marathon. You train first. So a beginner might not be able to do thirty reps of a new exercise on their first try, and that makes perfect sense. You’re shocking your system if you do too much…and there is such thing as too much. Your body will always show you who’s in charge.
If you approach exercise like it should be painful, then you’re creating a negative connection with something that should be a positive benefit to your health. Suddenly, it’s not working out your body and strengthening your muscles, it’s a contest to see how much hell you can put yourself through. Then you’re promoting a negative relationship with exercise.
Your body takes the path of least resistance, so it’s important to know the difference between discomfort due to using your muscles and pain. I always say that you want to feel it in your muscles now rather than in your joints later. There’s a fine line between just enough and too much, but the truth is, your body is going to tell you when it can’t do any more. You work your way up. Maybe a quarter of a mile today becomes a half a mile by next month. And it’s better to gradually add more than to push yourself over the edge and get injured.
Exercise should be fun, not painful. It should feel good to use your muscles. So whether that’s lifting or swimming or dancing or walking, you should do what makes you feel good and not what puts you at risk of hurting yourself.
And yes, exercise may make you feel tired or sore. But it should never cause permanent damage!
What are your thoughts? How do you think we can have a healthy relationship with exercise? I’d love to hear!
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Disclaimer: I am not a fitness professional and this blog post was written based on my own experience and my knowledge from yoga teacher training. I am not yet a certified yoga teacher.