Can you obtain the benefits of exercise (e.g., increased strength, muscle mass) without experiencing pain?
It is possible but your progress will undoubtedly be slow and the benefits will be minimal. This is because in order for your body to get stronger or get more muscular, it has to be stimulated to a point when adaptation can occur. Adaptation is the wonderful process when your body gets stronger or more muscular due to a stimulus put upon it. But the stimulus must be outside of your comfort zone or else there is no reason for your body to get stronger. It turns out the old adage of "no pain, no gain" is true to an extent. Some pain must occur in order for your body to adapt to a new stimulus. The good news: less pain will be experienced upon subsequent workout sessions involving the same exercise (indicating adaptation has occurred).
You should bear in mind that there is "good" pain and there is "bad" pain. The distinction is simple: "good" pain is a dull, aching muscular pain which dissipates within seconds after a hard exercise set; "bad" pain is a sharp, intense pain located located at or near a joint which may persist or get worse days after exercising.
If you are experiencing chronic pain outside of your workouts you should see a physical therapist, orthopedic doctor, or other health professional. But exercise should be recommended within a short period of time. Exercise may actually reduce the severity of pain. Counter-intuitive, no doubt. But studies have indicated that one should not avoid exercise because the consequences of being sedentary (i.e., deconditioning, muscle atrophy, etc.) are actually worse than that of exercising. In fact, regular exercise may help to reduce chronic pain. This is primarily due to the release of the body's own pain-reducing chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins may also alleviate anxiety and depression. Additional reasons why exercise can reduce pain are due to the following:
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Brian Danley, CFT "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." 408-688-1586 (cell) briandanleyfitness.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/briandanleyfitness https://www.facebook.com/BrianDanleyFitness
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.