The empty promise: no pain no gain
|Source: Je Voudrais Que|
You've heard the expressions before: "No pain, no gain." "Just Do It." "Push it." All these phrases are meant to inspire would-be exercisers to push their bodies to the limit, test their strength and endurance, and ultimately, enjoy a lean and healthy body. For some, the phrases are inspiring.
But for many others, these phrases conjure up negative images of heavy breathing, sore muscles, and profuse sweating. No wonder kinesiologist Panteleimon Ekkekakis of Iowa State University says half of those who push themselves beyond their comfort levels while exercising quit their regimens within six months.
This information is not new. We already know middle age women don't like to be pushed to the point of exhaustion, and they will more likely make exercise habitual if they aren't left wheezing at the end of their workouts.
The lesson? Exercising habitually requires us to find an athletic passion. Open yourself up to all kinds of exercise possibilities, both inside and outside the gym. (Dance, rock climbing, tennis, rowing, walking, yoga). Enjoy the activity for what it is, not how hard you have to work at it. Marvel at what you body can do and how you can increase its strength at your own pace. Of course you can push yourself hard if you want to. It's all your decision.
And here's the kicker: if you can find exercise that's fun you might even want to push yourself from time to time. That, of course, is how it should work.