There are times when exercise can be painful*, especially when you're coaching or participating in, a HIIT or Tabata® training class. You know that. You might also be aware that the more you expose yourself to high intensity training, the feelings of pain / discomfort you experience diminish over time. Said another way; over time, you may develop a tolerance for the pain that accompanies HIIT or Tabata® type training. You knew that too... and now there's actual research that suggests regular exercise can reduce a person's sensitivity to most any type of physical pain.
I learned at IDEA that Tabata® is an actual brand name. Out of respect for them I've included the ®. I hope to have more about the new Tabata® Cycling certification they'll be offering in the near future.
From the New York Times - How Exercise Helps Us Tolerate Pain
Regular exercise may alter how a person experiences pain, according to a new study. The longer we continue to work out, the new findings suggest, the greater our tolerance for discomfort can grow.
For some time, scientists have known that strenuous exercise briefly and acutely dulls pain. As muscles begin to ache during a prolonged workout, scientists have found, the body typically releases natural opiates, such as endorphins, and other substances that can slightly dampen the discomfort. This effect, which scientists refer to as exercise-induced hypoalgesia, usually begins during the workout and lingers for perhaps 20 or 30 minutes afterward.
But whether exercise alters the body”™s response to pain over the long term and, more pressing for most of us, whether such changes will develop if people engage in moderate, less draining workouts, have been unclear.
So for the new study, which was published this month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers at the University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research Australia, both in Sydney, recruited 12 young and healthy but inactive adults who expressed interest in exercising, and another 12 who were similar in age and activity levels but preferred not to exercise. They then brought all of them into the lab to determine how they reacted to pain.
Click the link if you'd like to read the entire article - here's the important conclusion...
The study”™s implications are considerable, Mr. Jones says. Most obviously, he said, the results remind us that the longer we stick with an exercise program, the less physically discomfiting it will feel, even if we increase our efforts, as did the cyclists here. The brain begins to accept that we are tougher than it had thought, and it allows us to continue longer although the pain itself has not lessened.
So how can this help you as an Instructor or coach?
While at the IDEA fitness conference this week, I took the Tabata® Cycle workshop presented by Team ICG Master Trainer Mike Michels. During Mike's lecture he really emphasized how difficult it is to perform the series of 8, 20 second all-out intervals properly. So difficult in fact that Mike said none of us would be successful initially. But if we performed them regularly, over time we will improve. Beyond an increase in fitness we'll experience, some of that improvement will come from an increase in tolerance for the pain that's a part of HIIT.
I left the class thinking... I should start communicating - your incentive for working hard today, will come in the form of a less painful workout tomorrow. Then, when your tomorrow comes, take advantage of it 🙂
*Of course I'm talking about the pain felt when pushing yourself to your maximal effort, not localized pain that's indicative of poor form, improper bike set up or joint strain/injury 🙁
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