Pain vs. Discomfort While Working Out

With mantras like “no pain, no gain” floating around everywhere for people working out it’s easy to see why they think pain is good. Newsflash it’s not! It should never hurt to work out. Sometimes, the line between pain and discomfort is blurred. So what do you do then? Read on to find out how to distinguish pain from standard workout discomfort.

In order prevent becoming injured, it’s very good to know differences between pain and discomfort. Think of the discomfort sensation. When you are stretching your hamstrings picture yourself sitting on the floor, reaching towards your toes. As you deepen the stretch, you may notice that it is uncomfortable but not unbearable. However, if you go too far, you will notice it goes from uncomfortable to painful. Remember this sensation when working out. Yes you’re going to be uncomfortable sweaty, sticky, hot and out of breath. Your muscles are going to be all achy, they may burn, and you’re going to feel very tired at times. This is all normal.
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What’s not normal is if you feel a sudden, sharp pain. Now, I don’t need to describe what pain is because everybody knows the sensation of pain. If you feel this, it is your body’s way of telling you you must stop, something is wrong, it doesn’t like what you’re doing. Pain is your body’s alarm system to alert you that something’s not right, never ignore this! If you do chances are, you’re going to end up injured and that’s going to put you out of your activities for an undetermined amount of time depending on how badly you injure yourself.

Another thing to watch out for it is sickness. If you’re working out so hard that you actually vomit, you need to take it down a few notches. Its not a bragging right, it’s not a badge of honor, it’s not cool. You are doing your body more damage than good if you are pushing yourself to the extreme. Think of what happens when that feeling of nausea hits. Whether you want to or not, you’re going to stop and expel whatever was in your stomach. Seeing how your body’s whole goal was to make you stop, it won.

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Point is you’re going to stop, whether you want to or not. This also applies to feeling dizzy, light headed, woozy or anything else along those lines. Sooner or later, you’re going to stop long enough to figure out what’s going on and that’s your body’s goal — to get you to stop doing whatever it is you’re doing.

In reading this short post, I hope you understand the importance of knowing when to stop. Pain is not something you should strive for in a workout. Pain is not an indicator of how “awesome” a work out is if anything is an indicator of poorly it was. Please exercise safely and have a lovely day!


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