When you encounter exercise pain, pay close attention to exactly what body part is hurting. Sore muscles are a normal result of stretching them beyond what they are used to. Joint or tendon pain, on the other hand, may be an early indication of an injury and need to be treated with respect.
There is an old exercise philosophy that goes like this, "No pain...No gain." Many athletes and fitness buffs have lived by this ethos; including me. I can tell you that discomfort during exercise, and soreness for a period after the workout, is very normal and a good indicator that you are pushing yourself. Exercise pain, on the other hand, is your body's early warning system that something may be in the process of being injured. These warnings should be heeded.
My body is a walking testament to the the previous paragraph. I have a lot of chronic shoulder, wrist and elbow pain as a result of ignoring the pain warnings in my younger years. Now, in my sixth decade on this planet, I can admit to these mistakes. I used incorrect form to lift more weight than I should have. I kept lifting when my joints were telling me to stop. I don't wish this on any of you.
My intention is not to scare you off from strength training. Quite the opposite; I want you to lift. It is far and away the best way to burn fat. Even as you age into senior citizenship, there is no reason to stop lifting. You will very likely have to adapt to your body's needs, however.
Let's quickly clarify the difference between excercise pain and soreness or discomfort. Pain is usually a sensation that arises suddenly and is sharp, pointed or shooting. It can be an ache or irritation. The pain we are talking about will usually be focused on a joint or bone. Discomfort when training is quite normal. It's a good indication that you are pushing your muscles to growth beyond where they are today. You may have heard the phrase, "feel the burn." That is what I am talking about. When you feel it, you will know it.
The final issue you will experience is soreness. This will occur a day or two after a workout where you did exercises not recently performed or you added intensity to your workout (more weight, higher reps, etc.). The term typically used for this condition is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It will last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours and, in rare occasions, over a week. When I get DOMS, I have found that long, slow stretching periods help me to loosen up and feel a lot less sore. I also stay hydrated with sports drinks (sugar free version) to shorten the DOMS time frame.
As we age, the effects of a lifetime of activity begin to take their toll. This resulting exercise pain, however, can be managed. I will give you my personal examples of how I have kept strength training and kept my pain to a minimum (it hasn't completely gone away...too many mistakes and bad judgement for too many years of lifting).
The most important step that I took was to quit lifting heavy weights. Yes, you read that right. I don't use weight anymore; at least not in the conventional sense. Hopefully, you won't have to take this step with all the information that is available today (including on newleaneryou.com !!).
In place of weights, I use two primary pieces of equipment. Battle ropes and resistance bands. I have found these tools to be a huge blessing to me as I maintain and improve my fitness level. They have allowed me to push my muscles and naturally fit cardio into the same workout. There is very little rest between sets so the workouts are efficient and effective. I rotate using each of these tools to prevent boredom and keep my muscles confused.
I do intend to go back to lighter weights in the near future. When I create, test and implement that plan, I will write about it here. You will be the first to know about my results!!
Hopefully you now understand the difference between normal discomfort and soreness as opposed to exercise pain. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly. Don't let it stop your progress.
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