The Pain and Pleasure of Exercise

Exercise can be painful and pleasurable at the same time – at least it can be for me (that’s not me in the picture). Pushing your body to the limits can be uncomfortable – and exhilarating.  We hear about “the runner’s high”, the “buzz” from a great gym session.

For some people it’s just painful – there’s no pleasure at all. For others it’s neither painful nor pleasurable (– I don’t think these people are trying hard enough)! To be fair, constant low grade movement (exercise) is not likely to be painful (unless you’re carrying a problem); but if you take time to really feel and appreciate the movements you are able to make, you could certainly take pleasure from this kind of movement too.  Consider the alternative – you can’t move at all.  For someone who has been paralysed (partly or globally), movement would be a sweet pleasure.  The ability to bring food to your own mouth; to walk up a hill; to run in the rain – by being more mindful (aware) of your movements, you may (and should) take joy in them.

But what of pain?  Should you push yourself to the point of pain when you move/exercise? If you have an injury/pre-existing pain and it hurts more to exercise it, then no (but come and see us to get better).  However, if the pain is that of muscle exhaustion and strain through maximal or continued effort, you will strengthen your muscles.  Stronger muscles mean stronger bones.  Strength is an important component of fitness, and greater fitness is good protection against a host of problems associated with getting older – not least of them death!  Being stronger means you are less likely to fall over when balancing on one leg, break your hip, be hospitalised and die of a hospital acquired infection.

If you’d like to live a long and happy life, perhaps you need a little more of the “right kind” of pain in your life?  Come and see us to discuss a program of positive pain!

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