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No pain, no gain ...... or not!

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This is to pickup from a tangental discussion in the 'Transgender' thread that drifted about a billion miles off topic.

The basis for this discussion is the expression "No pain, no gain". While there are earlier examples, it became a popular motto in the 80's thanks to Jane Fonda and her exercise video's. Those disciples of Fonda like to say you must "feel the burn" in order to have a rewarding workout.

There are many examples of pain associated with exercise. Sharp intense pain during exercise might be a sign of doing severe damage to the muscle fibre, a burning sensation during intense exercise might be a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is that dull aching pain/tenderness/soreness you often experience the next day (often after that game of touch football with your buddies you haven't seen in 15 years - ie. doing doing an exercise you don't regularly do).

Some people swear by the "no pain, no gain" motto, and others say any pain is a sign of damage and should be avoided. The best way to avoid the pain is to do proper stretching before any exercise and have a cool down period afterwards. There are lots of issues we can explore here: What do we know about exercise related pain, is it good or bad, do you still exercise to the point of pain, if the damage is already done then what is the purpose of a cool down period?

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There is now plenty of evidence to show that 'stretching before exercise is necessary to prevent injuries' is also a myth. Much research has been done on this issue but the take away I get is that stretching is good after exercise.

https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/3056/

"The fact that authority figures (e.g., coaches and sports medicine doctors) have long advocated pre-exercise stretching for lowering injury risk is likely the reason it has been so widely accepted as standard practice. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, however, researchers began to more closely scrutinize the evidence supporting this practice. For example, a review of existing literature led one group of researchers to conclude that pre-exercise static stretching does not lower the risk of local muscle injury (Shrier, 1999). Similarly, another group of scientists (Pope et al., 2000) reported no significant reductions in the incidence of lower-limb injuries in people who stretched before exercise compared to those who performed no stretching. More recently, Witvrouw and colleagues (2004) concluded that pre-exercise stretching has no beneficial effect on injury prevention for activities such as cycling, jogging and swimming. Finally, in a current review (McHugh and Cosgrave, 2010), the general consensus was that stretching in addition to aerobic warm-up does not affect the incidence of overuse injuries."

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I think all this stuff is fairly well know among people that actually read about exercise and the associated science.

If your goal is to stay "healthy" and maintain a decent shape and weight, then you do not need to exercise to the point of pain. Low-impact, body-resistance only, exercise that minimizes joint damage and minimizes risk of injury is good.

If your goal is to "train" for something, that is, increase your body's performance in some aspect in the sense of an athlete, whether it is endurance sports, or maximum power, strength, speed, etc, then at least a bit of pain is part of the mix. "Sharp, intense" pain is obviously bad and not what you are aiming for, just the burn of tired muscles. You need to "stress" your muscles beyond the amount of stress they are used to dealing with, and this stress triggers an adaptation response. The adaptation takes a certain amount of time and if you perform an exercise too soon again it will result in cumulative damage rather than strengthening. This is why most training programs, coaches, etc, specify training not more often than every 2-3 days for the same muscles, etc.

Edited by Bonam

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There is now plenty of evidence to show that 'stretching before exercise is necessary to prevent injuries' is also a myth. Much research has been done on this issue but the take away I get is that stretching is good after exercise.

Count me in that camp. I think stretching before is useless unless you're in martial arts or gymnastics. For runners and cyclists a gentle warm up is as good if not better. I don't even really stretch after either

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This is to pickup from a tangental discussion in the 'Transgender' thread that drifted about a billion miles off topic.

The basis for this discussion is the expression "No pain, no gain". While there are earlier examples, it became a popular motto in the 80's thanks to Jane Fonda and her exercise video's. Those disciples of Fonda like to say you must "feel the burn" in order to have a rewarding workout.

There are many examples of pain associated with exercise. Sharp intense pain during exercise might be a sign of doing severe damage to the muscle fibre, a burning sensation during intense exercise might be a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is that dull aching pain/tenderness/soreness you often experience the next day (often after that game of touch football with your buddies you haven't seen in 15 years - ie. doing doing an exercise you don't regularly do).

Some people swear by the "no pain, no gain" motto, and others say any pain is a sign of damage and should be avoided. The best way to avoid the pain is to do proper stretching before any exercise and have a cool down period afterwards. There are lots of issues we can explore here: What do we know about exercise related pain, is it good or bad, do you still exercise to the point of pain, if the damage is already done then what is the purpose of a cool down period?

No pain, no gain - may've been popularized by Jane Fonda, however it's meaning was not originally meant for mere physical exercises and work-outs.

Perhaps Jane Fonda was inspired and borrowed from history:

A form of this expression is found in the beginning of the second century, written in The Ethics of the Fathers 5:21 (known in Hebrew as Pirkei Avot):

This is interpreted to be a spiritual lesson; without the pain in doing what God commands, there is no spiritual gain.

Rabbi Ben Hei Hei says, "According to the pain is the gain."

— Pirkei Avot 5:21[5]

One of the earliest attestations of the phrase comes from the poet Robert Herrick in his "Hesperides". In the 1650 edition, a two-line poem was added:

NO PAINS, NO GAINS.

If little labour, little are our gains:

Man's fate is according to his pains.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_pain,_no_gain

Edited by betsy

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I think, Jane Fonda's reference to the no pain, no gain motto, is not the actual physical pain brought on by exercising....... but the perseverance involved - which includes having to force one's self to go through the exercises even when we don't feel like doing it.

We've heard and seen it so many times before - we may even have done it ourselves.

We start out enthusiastic in doing our work-outs, or our power walks, or our aerobics, or our yoga......and then there comes a time when we start neglecting them because we find them boring, or we feel too lazy to do them, etc..,

If we want to achieve our goals - we've got to persevere. I think that's the real message behind that motto.

Edited by betsy

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Stretching to prevent injuries was debunked long ago; however, I find certain stretches are beneficial for performance. Stretching hip flexors improves acceleration and stretching also improves range of motion which improves performance in a variety of sports.

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I believe that for competitions, any athlete will accept and benefit from the pain he/she goes through in an effort to win.

Pain is you body's way of telling you that it recommends that you do not do this and that you are approaching the point at which real damage can be done. If you are prepared to withstand that pain to achieve a goal then you work through that pain to keep pushing your pain threshold. World Class athletes have to function while in pain.

I remember the words on a plaque over the door of the weight room in Hart House on the campus of the University of Toronto:

"You Train In Pain or You Train In Vain"

When I attended there, someone had written under the plaque, in black marker, "And the smart ones go for a beer!"

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