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Thursday, May 19, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

Remember this old saying - No Pain, No Gain?  I think that statement is true.  If you don't push yourself when you are exercising, you won't make any progress.  Now I don't mean you should ignore real pain and risk injuring yourself.  Time spent recuperating from an injury sets you back on your weight loss goals or your fitness level.  When you feel real pain while exercising, you should immediately stop and evaluate the extent of your injury.  If it really hurts to move or put weight on an area, you need to seek medical help.  Otherwise try rest, soak in a hot tub or use an ice pack and take Tylenol or ibuprofen for a couple of days.

However, if your walks resemble strolls through the mall, then you aren't working hard enough.  You need to work hard enough to break a sweat, raise your heart rate and become a little breathless at least, depending on what you are doing.  If your workout has become too easy, it's time for a change.  Try something new or get a new routine from a trainer.  I have seen people who "work out" not make any progress because they never really break a sweat.

Working your body hard has other benefits than just better fitness.  A good workout leaves you feeling relaxed and happy, at least until you get home to the kids.  I swear, five minutes with my kids can undo a whole hour of intense yoga!  Anyway, people who exercise regularly have more energy and sleep better.  Exercise helps fight chronic disease like high cholesterol and can even lead to a better sex life.  What else can I say to motivate you?  Oh, exercise can even be fun!  A hike with the family on a beautiful spring day or tennis with friends can fill an otherwise dull afternoon.

So step up your game!  Get moving and discover the benefits of exercise for yourself, especially if you've already done the sit on your butt routine.  Just remember to check with a physician before starting an exercise program if you are seriously out of shape or have a medical condition.  Also, start slow and increase your workouts gradually.  If you go out and injure yourself or become so sore you can't move the first day, you are doing more harm than good.

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