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Health When does exercise get easier? It doesn't — and that's a good thing

04:25  09 july  2018
04:25  09 july  2018 Source:   9coach.com.au

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  When does exercise get easier? It doesn't — and that's a good thing © K-Paul/iStock/Getty Images

I work part-time as a fitness instructor, and new members often join my club, work out like demons for a few weeks or months, then ask me as they gasp for breath at the end of yet another gruelling session: "Why is this still so hard?"

Here's the bad news: if you're working to get fitter and stronger, exercise never stops hurting. But there's good news too: if you're hurting, it means you're growing fitter and stronger.

Why does exercise suck?

Even superhumans who train at Herculean volumes and intensities readily admit exercise is hard, painful, and not very enjoyable.

That's probably because we're not really "designed" to exercise. Wild animals don't jog or lift heavy things if they don't have to to survive. In fact, we're actually programmed by evolution to conserve energy — your body doesn't really want you to move at high intensities.

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When you exercise in the morning, at the same time every day, your body will get used to this routine and it will begin to prepare for it , even An early morning workout will also give you an appetite for a good , healthy breakfast. 10 things that turn guys off that girls don’ t know about.

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If you haven't exercised in a while, or ever, your initial workouts will be grim torture because your body just isn't conditioned to the stress you're putting on your cardiovascular system and muscles.

"if you're starting from scratch and going straight into an F45 class, for example, it's guaranteed you'll feel awful," accredited exercise physiologist Beth Sheehan, a spokesperson for Exercise and Sports Science Australia, tells Coach. "Your body hasn't done any of those things before!"

But your body is highly adaptable to stress, which means workouts that once destroyed you will quickly stop hurting so bad. There's a downside of that adaptability, though: it also means you'll stop growing.

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"Once you get into a routine you don't see [any more] changes — whether your goal be weight loss, or strength, or fitness," Sheehan says. "Your body essentially plateaus. It adapts to those higher levels. It's not being challenged anymore and you're not working towards a goal."

That means if you want to get fitter and stronger, you have to make yourself hurt — a concept known to exercise scientists as progressive overload, which dictates you need to continually increase the stress you put on your body to keep pushing it to higher levels.

"You do want to overload gradually," advises Sheehan. "You need to keep pushing yourself, but within reason. Make sure you're not tipping over the edge too much [or you'll] go down that slippery slope of fatigue and burnout or injury."

Good pain vs bad pain

You're midway through an intense workout, and your body is screaming at you to stop — that's a good sign. (Ignore it. Keep going.) But there's a massive difference between the discomfort which signals progression, and pain which signals something wrong.

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Until one day, when she texted me the question that every new parent has asked: “ When does it get easier ?” I don’ t know if this makes me a good friend or a bad one, but rather than reassure her that it would get easier at 3 months/ when she sleeps through the night/fill-in-the-milestone

But there are also plenty of physical changes that contribute to the cumulative it - gets - easier effect. And from the day you begin an exercise routine, you’re proving to yourself you can do just that. Each challenge you overcome results in an influx of feel- good thoughts and emotions.

"Any sharp, shooting pain [in your joints] or pins and needles [in your hands and feet], that's your body telling you something is going on," Sheehan says. "You need to stop and listen to that and address it."

Whether you're a fitness newcomer or veteran, this bad pain might indicate you should consult with a health professional to check for injury, or for some other underlying issue.

Okay, here's some more terrible news: "good" pain doesn't only strike during exercise — it'll often plague you days after you've worked out. It's called delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, or "I trained legs two days ago and still can't hobble down stairs without crying".

Sheehan says inexperienced exercisers often fall into the "trap" of avoiding movement when they're plagued with DOMS.

"In fact, your body needs active recovery," she says. "Some movement is often better in terms of decreasing that prolonged muscle soreness."

That means you should keep exercising — at a lighter intensity. Sheehan recommends low-impact activities like walking, swimming, cycling on a stationary bike or, if you're doing a resistance-training program, working on other body parts after that brutal legs session.

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Yes, it does get easier because the body gets used to it . Exercise is supposed to be a daily thing , something as vital as food. Exercising is easy if you make it fun. Exercise how you want to and do what you want to when it comes to exercising .

We build more muscle or more stamina. We feel how daily activities like climbing stairs becomes easier if we exercise regularly. When it comes to our "Yes, yes, I know all about it , that ' s the thing with the endorphins, that makes you feel good and why we should exercise and stuff, right?" is what I can

And just like how pain during exercise never really goes away, nor does DOMS — it's a sign you've shredded your muscles enough to prompt them to grow. "I've got friends who are elite weightlifters and sprinters and things, and they're sore all the time," Sheehan admits.

But on the bright side, a person conditioned to exercise does learn to tolerate muscle soreness better, and isn't blighted by it as long. (And again, keep in mind the distinction between DOMS and those sharp, niggling pains that could indicate something isn't right.)

You have to exercise — but it doesn't have to hurt

To be your healthiest, you must exercise. That's not negotiable.

But the type of exercise you do, and the intensity you do it at, is.

Working out will always be punishing if heightened strength or fitness is your goal — there's a reason "no pain, no gain" is repeated so often. But it's not compulsory to punish yourself if you simply want to maintain a decent standard of cardiovascular fitness or strength.

"Everyone has to find the type of exercise that works for them," Sheehan says. "If you're able to stay a healthy weight, manage any health conditions, if you're living a healthy lifestyle ... then it doesn't matter what type of exercise it is, and it doesn't matter how intense."

Just moving is ultimately more important than whatever level you move at. Sheehan explains the physical activity recommendations are a minimum of 150 minutes a week at a moderate intensity, as well as two strength-training sessions a week.

"That doesn't have to be in a gym — it can be body weight, it can be general resistance using therabands, all those sorts of things," says Sheehan, adding you don't even have to exercise to work towards that physical activity target.

"Walking, gardening ... parking your car two extra blocks from the office, taking the stairs," are among the activities Sheehan says you can do to maintain your health.

"Look at exercise and movement differently — you're still going to get those physical benefits," she says.

Most of those members at my gym who (rightly) complain exercise is bloody hard ultimately stick with it, at ever-increasing intensities. Because if you keep working out, you learn to put up with the pain… and, in a strange sort of way, even learn to love it.


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