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Is it Pain or Muscle Soreness?

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “no pain no gain” but is that always the case?

There is a difference between muscle soreness and pain, they are not the same thing. Muscle soreness can be expected with exercise but it should only last a day or two. It is common to be sore after an intense workout or when doing new exercises.

Soreness is typically generalized, can be widely distributed, can also feel like stiffness or fatigue, and may cause you to move slower but usually feels better with movement. Soreness will go away on its own after a few days.

Pain on the other hand is more localized, persistent, inhibits movement and is recurring and in the same place/area of the body. 

Now, you may have also heard if it hurts don’t do it. So which one is true? Well, that depends.

As long as pain goes away after 10-15 minutes then it is ok and you are not hurting yourself. If it lasts longer then that you may have over done it. If it is sharp pain that you are experiencing while exercising then you should stop right away. You don’t want to push through the pain because that could cause injury or worsen an existing injury.

Our bodies were built to move so sometimes our sedentary lifestyle or not moving enough can actually cause us pain, and therefore, moving/physical activity or exercising through it can help decrease the pain. For arthritis, keep in mind that motion is lotion, and one of the best things you can do for it is keep moving. But like medication, you have to find the right dosage of movement and what movements will help the most.

Start slowly and gently and if pain decreases continue with your exercises, but if it gets worse the more or longer you exercise, listen to your body, and stop so that you are not doing more harm then good.

As we age it takes longer for our muscles to recover so it is normal to feel more fatigue or soreness whether you have been exercising your whole life or are new to it. Making sure you are eating enough protein and drinking water throughout the day can help with muscle recovery. Stretching after exercise and using heat or ice can also assist with muscle recovery. It is best to stay active and continue to move through the soreness but vary the activities and/or the muscles you are using.

Remember, if you want to get stronger and improve your balance and mobility, it is important to challenge yourself. Finding the right amount of challenge is crucial for progress so that you don’t over do it, but you also don’t want to to go too easy on yourself!

If you have questions or want guidance with safe, effective and pain free personalized exercise programs contact A to Z Personal Wellness. 

Ways to Make Exercise a Daily Habit

Have you tried to get into a routine of exercising and it only lasts a few days? Here are some ideas to make exercise a daily habit. 

One way to make exercise a habit is to do it right after a habit that you already have established. An example would be, after I wake up and brush my teeth I will exercise. Another example would be after I take off my work clothes I will put on my exercise clothes. Stacking your habits can make them stick better. You can think or write out all of your current daily habits and see where exercise could best fit in and then do that daily. This will also help create consistency and can make it become automatic. 

If you are exercising at home, create a space for it and have that be where you exercise every time. If you are going to the gym, set out a gym bag and outfit before bed or if you are going after work, have it in your car ready to go.

It is also important to make adding a habit appealing, so you could tell yourself after I exercise for 10 minutes I will read a book or check the news/social media or watch a TV show. Try to add your habit that you need to do (exercise) with a habit you want to do ( read, watch TV, etc). 

You could also make it more appealing by listening to music that you love while you exercise, or watching a TV show while you exercise. Challenge yourself by saying you will only watch a certain show while you are exercising to make it something you look forward to.

View exercise, in a positive way, instead of thinking of it as something hard, tiring or dreadful. Think positively by saying, this will make me stronger so I have more strength to play with my grandkids. This will increase my endurance so I will have more endurance to go shopping. This will increase my confidence so I will feel more comfortable and confident when traveling or hiking.

Habits form based on repetition. If you exercise everyday for 30 days, it is more likely to become a habit compared to if you only exercised twice over those 30 days. Repetition is key, it doesn’t matter how long you exercise for, it is just about making sure you do it.

It is also important to start small. So starting with 2-5 minutes of exercise may sound strange but once you have created the habit of doing 2-5 minutes then you can improve it/ increase the time. 

If you are someone that likes to make lists and cross things out, put exercise on your to do list and cross it off once you complete it. Or you could put an x or check mark on a calendar or piece of paper to track your progress and have the satisfying feeling of checking it off and also of seeing how far you have come. Try not to miss more than 1 day in a row. Even if you don’t feel like it or you don’t have much time, go back to at least doing 2-5 minutes so you can keep maintaining progress and stay on track.

Make sure the exercise fits you, if you have never liked running don’t try it now, if you have always enjoyed walking focus on that. You could try something new like a dance class or pickleball. Find something that works for you, your body, and your personality. 

If you need help getting started or finding an exercise routine that works for you contact A to Z Personal Wellness.