We’ve all heard the phrase “no pain, no gain,” but is it the best advice to follow when it comes to our bodies? Originating in the 1980s as an exercise motto, it promised greater rewards for the price of hard, and even painful work. Under this conception competitive professionals, such as athletes, are required to endure pain (physical suffering) to achieve professional excellence. Medical experts agree that this philosophy is wrong for exercise and may have prompted the use of steroids in order to enhance performance. Thank goodness we’ve learned a lot more about our bodies over the last 30-40 years.
Any pain or soreness your body is experiencing is like the warning light in your car. It’s letting you know that something is wrong and needs to be checked. Just like your car, the better you maintain and support your body, the less pain you’ll experience.
Why do our muscles get sore? As our muscles repair themselves, it’s common to experience a dull, aching pain. No one is immune from experiencing this pain, but the level will depend on the type of activity and how much the muscles have adapted to that activity over time.
Muscle fatigue is common in exercise and occurs when you can no longer perform a specific movement. Your body uses this to signal that the muscles are too tired to continue. With muscle fatigue, the burning sensation usually fades shortly after you stop the movement.
Over using your muscles involves pushing your muscles past the point of fatigue, which can lead to injury. You don’t necessarily need to strain your muscle during a workout. A muscle injury can occur when you don’t give your body adequate time to rest and recover.
In general, muscle soreness is dull and mild and usually begins 24-48 hours after exercise. When the pain becomes more severe, that may be a sign that an injury has occurred or that something has been strained. This pain can indicate that the muscles were overused.
Invest in yourself. Take the time to learn your body and listen to what it’s telling you. If you learn to recognize your pain threshold to identify when your body is telling you to take a break, you can prevent muscle injuries.