Why Pain is Not Weakness, it’s Your Body Crying for Help
As a martial arts practitioner I’ve had my fair share of painful experiences. I’ve trained to points where I felt physically exhausted, but I knew I could push myself. I’ve learned that this isn’t always the case, sometimes, we have to acknowledge when enough is enough and stop ourselves from pushing past limits and into injury.
Have you ever heard of the ‘No pain, No gain’ mantra?
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘No pain, No gain’. It’s a popular mantra that many fitness professionals and avid gym goers have donned to keep themselves going; many feel that without a little pain there can be no success. While this is true, some are taking this far too seriously and run the risk of injury because they believe this applies to physical pain. While I encourage and value working hard, there is a distinction between ‘discomfort’ and ‘pain’. Physical pain is not the standard for success.
Stop taking it so literally
It may upset some people to read this, but please understand the difference between perseverance and ignorance. It’s good to persevere and push yourself to achieve your goals, but if you are performing a movement and it causes pain you need to be careful or your next vacation could be a hospital.
Let’s backtrack for a moment
If you perform an exercise or every day activity and it causes pain, you need to pay close attention to this. It’s not weakness, or fat crying, or any of the other descriptions they attribute to it, it’s a warning sign. Your body is trying to communicate something it doesn’t like. If you’re sitting for hours and you start feeling pain in your neck and lower back, that’s a sign that it’s time to get up and make some changes.
Pain? I always feel it, but I’ve learned to ignore it
If you’re always in pain and no longer feel it or you’ve gotten so good at ignoring it, you should probably schedule time with your physician. I’m not kidding. Stop ignoring the pain. It’s your body’s way of communicating that something is not right, and if you don’t listen something much worse could take its place.
Listening to your body is simple once you get the hang of it, but many are conditioned to ignore the warning signs. If you’ve been told that success means injury and physical pain while engaging your favorite sport or physical activity/exercise, you’ve been misled. Please, run from the people that encourage you to hurt yourself in order to feel successful.
For the professionals who promote this, please be weary and explain what you really mean. For the clients and gym-goers that hear this often, be aware that it simply means that some level of discomfort is necessary to grow in whatever you’re trying to accomplish. There’s nothing wrong with mild discomfort when challenging yourself to go further, but if you’re feeling pain and it’s past a stage of discomfort, stop doing it and make adjustments so it’s safer for you.
They say there’s no time like the present, but they also say once broken, never the same...
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