Gain Without Pain

One of the most common excuses for not exercising is the desire to avoid the aches and pains typically associated with working out. But the results of a 14-year study conducted by Stanford University flip this notion on its head. A group of 565 active and 301 sedentary people in their early to mid-60s were asked to complete an extensive annual questionnaire detailing how often they exercised and what types of exercise they engaged in, along with their history of musculoskeletal injuries. The active participants reported anywhere from 6 to 35 hours of exercise each week, and experienced 25% less pain than their non-active counterparts.

The Bigger Picture: The active exercisers walked briskly, hiked, swam, biked and played racquet sports. Because they tended to break a sweat and raise their heart rate above 120, researchers theorized that the lower incidence of pain may have resulted from the exercise-induced release of 'feel good' endorphins. Built-up resilience from regular strength training and a higher tolerance for minor pain may also be contributing factors. Whatever the case, it appears that regular exercise can help you feel physically better in addition to helping you feel good about yourself.
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