heard this phrase a few times over the last few weeks and its made me a bit
curious. Where did the saying "no pain, no gain" come from?
From what I remember, this saying came from aerobics workouts in the early
1980's where the instructor would encourage participants that they need to
"feel the burn" and "pain is only temporary." The
unfortunate thing is that these sayings were not the right way to go about
encouraging people. Like that game of telephone we use to play as kids, where
one person would start with a message, and by the time it got to the end of the
line, the message was not what was originally intended, these phrases of
encouragement have been long since misconstrued.
The saying "no pain, no gain" today means that people should continue
on with activities that cause physical pain. We see this in runners who feel
that they should continue running even though their knee pain from poor running
mechanics will continue to make the pain worse. We see this in people with back
pain who only feel a "twinge" so they continue on with their
activities with the "no pain, no gain" mentality.
So if the term "no pain, no gain" was taken literally, why don't you
see people continually slamming their hand in a door, or repeatedly dropping
heavy objects on their foot? It most certainly be painful. It is pretty clear
that there is little to gain from the previous two examples.
pain suppose to signify? Pain is like a warning light on your car. It tells you
that something is not right. Most often with pain, if you cease your activity,
the pain will subside (as in the runner with knee pain, or slamming your hand in
a door). However, if you later decide to resume the activity, the pain will
likely return. This is where it is helpful to see someone who can determine the
cause, and treat the source of the pain.
To go back to the origin of the motto "no pain, no gain" I believe
what the aerobics instructors were trying to encourage people to do was to work
through some mild discomfort to your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. I
hope they weren't encouraging people to work through back and knee pain, but it
seems that this is what has become of the famous motto.