The title of today's article is 'No Pain No Gain'. What I want to talk about today is the prevailing thought that unless your workouts hurt they aren't doing you any good. I'm sure you've all heard the saying, but does working out and getting fit and healthy have to be hard and painful?
Short answer... No!
There are plenty of ways to workout without putting your body through pain and still get the benefits. The idea that you need to go through the trials and tribulations of tough workouts to get fit is just another myth.
Take for example strength training. Strength training is not just for people who want to lift massive weights. We all need to be strong enough to go about our lives as easy as possible. With a little extra strength we will find it easier to carry our kids, lift the shopping and move around. Strength training can also be done without putting yourself through torture and yields great benefits. It'll help your strength (obviously) but at the same time it'll work your heat and lungs, improve insulin sensitivity, burn fat, work on flexibility and much more.
Next is slow steady training. By this I mean the amount we move during the day. Getting off our bottoms and moving around more is a form of exercise and yields great benefits. Low level activity will get your body to use its fat stores as energy more than sugar. Want to burn some fat away? Keep your heart rate below 120 and move more. This will also help with insulin resistance, aches and pains and will also improve flexibility.
Next you can train your joints to be strong and supple at the same time. By working on your joint care through some single leg movements or adjusting 'normal' moves to specifically target certain areas you will improve the strength and suppleness of your joints. You will reduce the risk of injury, reduce aches and pains and also increase your energy levels.
Finally there's sprint and power training. This is where you put maximal effort into a move for anything up to about 10s. Once you hit 10 seconds you stop and have plenty of rest (4-5 minutes). You then repeat. Yes this is intense training but doing it properly, ie with enough recovery time, you shouldn't put yourself through pain. Sprint training has very similar benefits to strength training.
So that's just 3 types of training that will work on a whole range of aspects of your health and fitness, all without putting your body through the pain most people associate with working out.
So why do we think training should hurt?
There's a couple of types of training that start to push your body through its comfort zones in terms of energy stores and heart / lung efficiency. This type of training is generally used to improve muscular endurance and certain aspects of cardiovascular fitness. Now for most of use go just want to be for and healthy to love our lives free of illness and injury we don't really need to spend a whole lot of time on this sort of training. If we wanted to be performance athletes competing at the top of our game then yes, we'd want to trading this way a bit more.
The message to take away from today is if you don't want to put your body through pain there's no need. You can work in different ways to get healthy. Playing sports and competing may increase the need for a little of the training that 'hurts' but it still doesn't need to rule your workouts!