Q: When it comes to exercise, do you believe in the old adage “no pain, no gain”?
A: This really depends on your definition of “pain.” I get up every morning at 5:30 to go to the gym. Sometimes this is “painful,” but I do it anyway because I know how important exercise is to health, and I know that once you start making excuses to skip a day, it can become a slippery slope.
If your definition of “pain” is liberal enough to include discomfort, this can also be a problem. Increasing the incline or the speed while you are running on a treadmill for 30 minutes or going up a notch on the amount of weights you are using is going to be uncomfortable, but challenging the muscles and the cardiovascular system is ultimately what leads to improvement.
All that being said, you have to know your limits. No one is going to continue an exercise regimen if the day-after muscle pain prevents them from going about their normal daily routine. Find a workout program that challenges you but that also works for your lifestyle.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at email@example.com.