Fact or fiction: No pain, no gain

How many times has your gym teacher or coach screamed in your ear “No pain, no gain”? A lot, I’m sure, to the point where you no longer want to go work out. So you may be surprised to find out that this is a fitness myth. Pain is a bad thing; it is your body’s way of telling you to stop before you really hurt yourself. When you burn your hand on the stove, the pain you feel tells you to move your hand, so you do. It is the same when you are exercising—that pain you feel can lead to even worse injuries, and you need to stop.

Your new mantra

So how do you know you are exercising your body as well as you can? The more accurate mantra you should be chanting while you are running is “feel the burn.” The slight burning sensation you feel in your legs as you round the block and are almost home is a good thing, and is a sign that you are pushing your body without it being dangerous. Your muscles will adapt to your workout regime, so it is important that you are still pushing yourself so you can grow stronger and faster. Start with what you are comfortable with then add longer distances and more sets.

Work out right

A little bit of soreness, unlike pain, is okay. If you wake up the next morning and your muscles are a little tight, it is a sign that your body is recovering from yesterday’s workout. If it gets to the point that you can’t move, you might want to make your routine a little easier for a while. That is why it is so important to start with what you are comfortable with and build up to the more difficult stuff. If you can only do five push-ups, that’s okay, and the next time you’re doing them try to go for six. You can injure yourself through overuse, too. Concentrating too much on toning your arms a few days in a row, for example, can be too hard on your bod. In addition to cardio, pick different parts of your bod to work on, and rotate them so your muscles have time to recover.

Take a breather
Every once in a while you need a day off. Don’t freak out if you can’t get to the gym. Take an afternoon to relax, watch a movie, read a book and go to bed early. If you are tired, you are more likely to get sick or injure yourself.
Remember working out is about helping you get healthy, and you should feel good when you are healthy. So the next time someone is telling you, “It ain’t workin’ unless it’s hurtin’,” remember that isn’t necessarily the case. Listen to your body and it will tell you when something is too much.

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by Hannah Hicklen | 2/1/2016
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