“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” –  Tony Robbins

Many people look to the new year as a fresh opportunity to improve their health, their level of fitness, and their physique. 

And this almost always involves physical exercise of some kind. 

Anyone who works out or exercises intensely on a regular basis understands that pushing yourself physically will result in a modicum of acute and temporary pain. In other words, the “burn” and the muscle stress of the moment, as well as the passing aches when you are done.

Of course, that’s where the infamous phrase, “No pain, no gain.” was ostensibly derived from. 

But smart athletes and others who work out understand that pain can also be a symptom of overwork or incorrect form. Minor, passing pain is to be expected from vigorous physical effort. Lingering, chronic, or recurring pain is not. 

For Those Who Are About to Work Out

Whether this is the first time you’ve seriously engaged in achieving a new level of fitness and strength, or it’s been a long time since your last real workout, it pays to be aware.

First, you should be aware of your current state of fitness and the signals your body is sending you as you move and put stress on various joints, muscles, and other soft tissues. As we noted here, a mild amount of discomfort or pain is to be expected.

But it’s not the goal.

One good recommendation to help prevent frustration and simply quitting, as well as possible injuries, is to “start small, go easy.” In other words, choose a workout routine that requires little, if any, gear or equipment. Set relatively easy goals, meet them, then ratchet them up a bit, and so on.

And be clear on what your overriding goal is with exercise. Get stronger? Bulk up? Or improve your cardio and aerobic fitness?

Here are some common categories and types of exercises according to Healthline:

Aerobic. The core of any fitness program should include some form of continuous movement. Examples include swimming, running, and dancing.

Strength. These exercises help increase muscle power and strength. Examples include resistance training, plyometrics, weightlifting, and sprinting.

Calisthenics. These moves are usually performed without gym equipment using large muscle groups. They’re done at a medium aerobic pace. Examples include lunges, situps, pushups, and pullups.

Remember: Exercises don’t hurt people; people get hurt exercising. In other words, even an activity as seemingly benign as calisthenics can result in lingering pain or injury if not done properly or performed in excess.

Plan to Succeed, and Succeed with a Plan: Exercise Smart

Here are guidelines for avoiding injuries during your workout:

  • Warm-up and cool-down. A warm-up helps your body by gradually increasing your heart rate and loosening your muscles and joints. “Cooling down” after your workout is important to slowly bring your heart rate back to normal. Walking for 5 to 10 minutes after is an easy way to cool down.
  • Stretch. Do some dynamic stretching before and after your workout. This will help increase flexibility and, while it may or may not help prevent injury, it’s good to stretch after your warm-up and cool-down.
  • Go slow. When you begin an exercise routine for the first time, start slowly. Then gradually build up the intensity, duration, and frequency.
  • Rest. Take a day or two each week to rest. Rest days allow your body to recover between workouts and can help prevent injuries.

For those who are looking for an “all-in-one” type of workout that can provide all around fitness without multiple exercises or equipment, swimming is often cited as the best activity for that.

According to one source,

“Swimming is a full-body workout that will help you to build muscle, strength, and endurance. Swimming will also challenge your cardiovascular system and burn far more calories.”

The downsides are that you must know how to swim, of course, and you must have access to a pool. Consequently, not everyone can take advantage of this “all-in-one” workout option. However, there is another exercise that is practically as good and only requires one piece of equipment. 

And that’s rowing.

While rowing in an actual boat can be great, it has a number of obvious obstacles to keep most people from participating. But, with an affordable rowing machine, anyone can row. And rowing ranks right up there with swimming for being an optimum exercise choice. 

As one source puts it,

“… rowing is a full-body workout from the start. Rowing activates nearly twice the muscle mass as other activities like running and cycling. A single stroke on the rowing machine works your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, arms, and back muscles.”

Keep in mind, however, like any other exercise or workout effort, being in pain is not the goal and can be avoided, even while improving your body’s performance.

We Can Help Resolve Your Chronic Pain and Improve Your Body’s Performance

Performance is relative and everyone’s body must perform to a certain level to maintain healthy and functional movement. 

And pain can prevent that.

Whatever the cause and whatever the reason, no one wants to endure unnecessary pain. And being sidelined from working out or even functioning normally in life is highly undesirable. But how do you get beyond chronic or recurring pain?

That’s where Pain and Performance Solutions can help.

By understanding how your body moves through your pain and the compensation patterns and subsequent movement dysfunction, we can determine the best strategy for your recovery.

Pain and Performance Solutions is ready to schedule an initial consultation with you so we can learn more about your pain and explain how our approach can help us diagnose the real cause of your pain.

As with any diagnosis of an injury or chronic pain, the first step is getting to know you. We can’t determine how to diagnose your chronic pain without understanding your history and what you’ve been through and where you are now.

By scheduling a consultation, you will take the first step in your journey to recovery. So, feel free to contact us at (707) 636-4404 or fill out our online contact form.