Limits of ‘No Pain, No Gain’

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 24, 2014 12:42 AM GMT

    NYT: Exercise makes us tired. A new study helps to elucidate why and also suggests that while it is possible to push through fatigue to reach new levels of physical performance, it is not necessarily wise.

    On the surface, exercise-related fatigue seems simple and easy to understand. We exert ourselves and, eventually, grow weary, with leaden, sore muscles, at which point most of us slow or stop exercising. Rarely, if ever, do we push on to the point of total physical collapse.

    Better, he said, to attend to the messages from your muscles and calibrate training accordingly. Should your exercise goal be to become faster or stronger, find a pace or intensity that allows you to work out near and occasionally just beyond the boundary between fatigue and pain, a line that will differ for each of us and vary day to day.
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    Apr 24, 2014 1:56 PM GMT
    I wish I would have stopped 'pushing through' the shoulder pain I'd been experiencing the last few years. Recovering from rotator cuff surgery last thanksgiving has been depressing to say the least.
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Apr 24, 2014 2:38 PM GMT
    This is especially true as we get older and less resilient in bouncing back from intense workouts.

    I've been doing triathlons and other endurance sports (open water swimming, trail running) for three decades, but really became conscious of my limits in my early 40s. I started to take a more organic approach to my training, taking rest days whenever I need them (sometimes 2-3 days a week!), getting more sleep, and stretching or doing yoga on those days where I'm feeling less energetic.

    Something must be working right: by actually pushing my limits less in training, my performance in races has never been better. I may be slower than I was in my 20s, but not by much, and I'm still faster than nearly everyone else in my age group when I compete.

    Less really is more, sometimes, but it's a hard mindset to adopt, especially given the "No pain, no gain" mantra.
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1451

    Apr 24, 2014 2:52 PM GMT
    I would to "exercise" to exhaustion with the guy in the picture!