When Not to Exercise by Stephanie Nickel

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skillfully-sculpted by Lynn Greyling When Not to Exercise

I have no idea how I did so, but it seems I’ve strained the good side of my neck. I damaged the right side of my neck approximately 40 years ago, and discovered a couple of years back when I had a physical assessment that it still plays a factor in my fitness level. However, today the left side of my neck is in rough shape. Therefore, I won’t be doing any shoulder or heavily-weighted upper body work today. I don’t want to damage it further.

So, how do you know when to give yourself a break?

Does achiness mean you should stop exercising?

Does the adage “no pain, no gain” really apply?

Remember, everyone is unique. Consult your doctor before beginning or changing your fitness routine. The following are only generalities and may or may not apply to you.

1. If you are clearly injured, it’s best to take a break or at least modify your routine so you don’t make the injury worse.

2. Gently stretching out the affected area can bring relief. Check out Kimberley’s YouTube channel for some great stretches.

3. If you have worked to muscle fatigue within the previous day or two (exercised until you felt you couldn’t do one more repetition), it’s to be expected that you will be achy. After a 36-48-hour break, it’s fine to work those muscles again, advisable even. I was on holidays with my hubby and our daughter. I worked out my lower body extensively the day before we walked around the art district in Toronto. That wasn’t too bad. Going down into the subway, on the other hand . . .  😉

4. I don’t consider achiness pain. (I’m weird that way.) So, while I actually consider it a good thing when my body objects to the previous day’s workout, I discourage anyone from exercising when they’re actually in pain. It can do more damage.

5. To avoid injury, start slow. I wouldn’t start right in with deep, weighted Sumo squats. With feet parallel, about shoulder width apart, arms out in front, come down to about 45 degrees as if aiming to sit in a chair. Return to standing. Master this move before moving on. Do the same with all exercises.

6. Although the benefits of stretching after a workout are debateable, anything that helps loosen my muscles and relax, I’m in favour of. And there are those who testify that it does reduce the post-exercise achiness. In fact, as I sit at my computer typing this post, I’m stretching out my neck and it is beginning to feel better.

7. If you continue with a certain exercise or routine and the aches and pains get worse and worse, you may have to switch things up. I used a Billy Blanks Tai Chi workout for a while, but my right side got increasingly painful, so I quit, despite the fact that I really enjoyed it.

8. If you hear an unusual body sound while exercising and that sound is followed by pain, stop! That said, my joints have often made strange sounds while exercising, but there was no pain, so I continued.

9. I have heard people with chronic pain say they can’t exercise because it hurts, while others say it hurts far more not to stay active. If you have chronic pain, I encourage you to see a healthcare pro and get their advice.

My general rule of thumb is this: “Pops, pulls, and pains are bad.”

Don’t make excuses for not exercising, but do so wisely and with caution.

 

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Stephanie Nickel

 

Steph Beth Nickel is an author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.

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One thought on “When Not to Exercise by Stephanie Nickel

  1. Pingback: 8 Things To Do When You’re Sick and Tired by Stephanie Nickel | Kimberley J. Payne

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