When you first start exercising it does need to be fairly easy, just not too comfortable, and more than you’ve already been doing. It should not be painful unless you’ve decided the pain of increased potential for injury or illness is truly worth the risks you’re taking.This means you better be really smart, have done a lot of research, and be very in tune with your body, or else get someone who is very smart, has done a lot of research, AND is in tune with YOUR body.
Pain is biofeedback that something is wrong. Yes, you read that right. You learned this long ago, but someone, or a lot of people, told you that life is hard and painful and that you just have to deal with it. Oh, they’re right, there will be circumstances in your life beyond your control that will cause you pain. It’s true. That’s life. But they were wrong, or you misunderstood, thinking that physical pain was a requirement for exercise performance or body improvement.
You can push into pain and things might work out and show improvement, or that pain will just lead to more pain. They were wrong. It doesn’t have to hurt for you to improve, but you do need to be clear about the risks as much as the benefits in what you do.
Eventually exercise should occasionally be hard, but only after you’ve done a significant amount of easy, not too comfortable exercise. Then, when you take on the hard stuff, pain will be for everyone else. Feel their pain, don’t make it yours.
Don’t confuse any of this with those rare, difficult, painful, do or die performances that have significant meaning and worth to you. You’ll have those moments and your choice to avoid pain will keep you from what you want. Simply understand that those moments should never be a daily or even weekly expectation.