Exercise-is it worth the aches and the pains? by Christie Hunter, RD

I have recently started a new exercise regimen that I love! It is an all-female group exercise class that encompasses cardio and weight resistance training. While I have always enjoyed exercise and considered myself an “active” person, I have recently questioned myself after some of these more recent exercise classes. You know that feeling when you look around the room to make sure that everyone else looks like they are struggling as much as you are? That is me! I know we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others but there is some sense of gratification in knowing that I am not the only one dying at the end of the class!

I am about 3 months into my latest exercise routine and I can tell differences. My endurance has increased, I am stronger (when I started I could barely do one pull up and now I can do 3), and muscles that haven’t been worked in a long time like hip flexor and deltoid muscles (in my back) are getting a workout like they haven’t in years. It feels great to be able to see my body getting stronger. However, I can honestly say that there have been more aches and pains in my body too. For the first two weeks, I was sore all over! I’m talking sore to the point of hard to get in and out of the bed.

I have the pleasure of riding to these early morning workouts with two neighborhood friends. While we use the ride to catch up on typical Mom-stuff, we also use the rides to commiserate our recent aches and pains. I joke and say that between the three of us, we are a train wreck. One suffers from hand issues, the other with wrist issues that both require gloves/braces for assistance, and I have a recent flare up with plantar fasciitis so I modify exercises for my foot. One morning while we were comparing our body aches; I commented that our friends that are still in the bed don’t have these aches and pains so why are we doing this? Is this worse for our bodies than if we were inactive?

I do think it is worth it! Our bodies were meant to move and inactivity weakens the muscles and makes our joints sore when we do move them. My body is getting stronger which means that I am building more muscle mass. This will only help me as I age to fight the decreasing metabolism and fight to keep my muscle tone. Not to mention that exercise is a great form of stress relief and helps to boost energy. We all need to find ways to manage stress and practice good self-care. I now know that mine comes from group exercise classes that not only encourage me but also empower me. Have you found your exercise that makes it all worth it for you? If not, try something new and don’t be afraid if you walk away with some new aches and pains.

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