Understanding pain

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
You can expect to feel an initial soreness when you begin to exercise. But how much pain or soreness should you tolerate? A good workout will produce what's usually called the 'burn.' The muscles tighten, and you'll start to feel a certain amount of warmth, sometimes to the point of discomfort. Work to the burn, but not through it. If your muscles really begin to hurt -and you'll know the difference between what's a burn and what's injury-induced pain -readjust your training schedule immediately. And be sure you don't train too often. Some strength-training coaches say you should wait forty-eight hours between workouts. It's likely you'll continue to feel the burn even as you progress through your exercise program. You'll probably be stiff following your first several sessions. If, however, any discomfort, stiffness, or burn brought on by a workout affects your next one, you've overextended yourself. Wait until the pain subsides before you exercise again and ease up a bit. If you're not sleeping comfortably, there's a good chance that you're training too hard. Other obvious signs include swelling, bruises, unusual weight loss, general fatigue, excessive thirst, and sore tendons. Pay attention to your body. It may not always use pain to indicate that it's reached a limit. Instead, it may begin to compensate for worn muscles by using other parts of the body to assist with the exercise - a shoulder shrug, for instance, to help you get through one more arm curl. Loss of rhythm is a sure sign that your muscles have reached their limit. For more information on avoiding pain and pain management, speak with your medical or fitness professional.

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