Which Exercises Help and Which Exercises Hurt?

Most people know that they need to exercise. Maybe you have had the experience of going to the doctor’s office and the doctor tells you that you need to exercise.

If you have never exercised, or haven’t exercised in years, how do you get into exercise? Which exercises are good for you and won’t hurt or injure you? Which exercises shod you stay away from because they are too tough on your body and will cause injury?

These are very common questions. Unless you have extensive experience with exercise, it is very hard to know which exercises will help you versus which exercises will hurt you.

It can be a very daunting experience to go into a gym and start on a new exercise routine. Especially if you are heavy or out of shape. It can be very intimidating to see the person next to you lifting 75 pound dumbbells while you are lifting with 5 pound dumbbells.

Many people in this situation will end up lifting heavier weights than they should because they feel embarrassed about lifting light weights. They will end up hurting themselves this way.

Those who are obese or over weight may not even go to a gym because they are too embarrassed to even go to a gym to start exercising. Maybe they feel they are not in good enough shape to exercise. Or maybe they feel that they will be stared at.

A good, full body workout can be performed at home, with very little investment into exercise equipment. I set up the Pain Free Lifestyle exercise program so that it can be performed at home with only a few dumbbells.

Even if you exercise in a gym, it is essential to know which exercises are good for you and which ones are not. Studies show that your exercise time will be more productive if you have a plan in mind of what you are going to do, before you get to the gym, or before you go into your exercise room at home. If you go into a workout without a plan and thinking that you’ll just see what you feel like doing when you get there, you won’t be getting the most out of the time you set aside for exercise. It is hard enough to find the time to exercise, make it as productive as possible. Get the most out of your exercise time. Exercise smarter, not harder.

Maybe when you were 20 you could go into a gym and bench press 220 pounds after not having done it for the last 6 months. At that age you probably wouldn’t even be sore the next day.

As we age, if we do something like that, we are going to hurt ourselves. And we won’t recover from it as quickly as we did when we were younger. Exercise smarter, not harder.

Almost 90% of all people who start a new exercise routine will quit. I feel this is mostly because too many people don’t know how to exercise. Maybe their only experience with exercise was in their high school gym class. Or maybe they were a high school athlete and trained while in high school, and maybe a little in college.

Even if it has only been 6 months or a year since you exercised consistently, you still have to ease your way into exercise. If you don’t ease your way into it, you will hurt yourself and you will have to stop exercising. Getting into exercise is an art form. It is hard to ease your way into exercise. Even if you have knowledge of, and experience with, exercise, it is hard to know which exercises will help you and which ones will hurt you. It is hard to know how to get back into a consistent, sustainable exercise routine without hurting yourself.

That is why I set up the Pain Free Lifestyle program the way that I did. It takes the thinking out of exercise. You don’t have to come up with a plan for which exercises you are going to do that day. It is laid out for you step by step, and level by level. So there is a beginner level 1, it progresses into the intermediate level 2, and progresses from there.

If you haven’t exercised in years, then start at level 1. It begins with how to breathe properly. This will help you exercise easier and more comfortably, and prevent you from hyperventilating. It goes onto stretching from there. Because if you try to strengthen up a tight and irritated and painful muscle, it will only make it more tight and irritated and painful. If you loosen it up first, then you will be able to exercise more consistently and without as much pain. The program then progresses on to cardio-vascular exercise and then onto weight lifting.

This may seem around about way of getting into exercise, but it is very easy on your body. It will make exercising more possible. It will give you the best chance of being able to stick with an exercise routine and do it consistently.

You can’t just jump right back into the exercise routine that you did 10, or even 5, years ago. Your body has changed, and you will hurt yourself if you try to do this.

Before beginning any new exercise routine, always check with your physician or another health care specialist to make sure that you are physically able to exercise.

I have attached a slide show that has some very good beginner level exercises in it. It hits most of the major muscle groups that you need to in order to have a complete, well balanced, full body workout.


Walking is a great, low impact, cardio-vascular exercise. If you have low back, hip, knee or ankle pain or arthritis, you might want to try an elliptical machine, stationary bike, rowing machine or swimming instead. Because walking can tighten up your legs and hips which can irritate the low back, hips, knees and ankles. Otherwise, it is easy to do and good for you. Much easier on your body than running is. I advise most people to walk, rather than run. Especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time, do not start out with running. It will hurt you. Walking will be much easier on your body, and easier to do consistently and long term.

Squats are considered a power lifting exercise, but if done with little or no weight, it can be a great way to work all of the muscles from your core on down to your feet. It will even strengthen the small balancing muscles in your feet that you use to stabilize yourself while walking.

If you are doing squats then I don’t think that it is necessary to do lunges as well. If you do both of these exercises it can through your legs out of balance by overdeveloping the quad muscles (the muscles in the front of your legs). This imbalance can lead to hip pain and even low back pain.

Pushups are a great exercise, but traditional pushups are not. A traditional pushup will work the chest muscles while not working the rotator cuff muscles and therefore can create a weak link in the kinetic chain. This can cause shoulder instability and pain. And if you have shoulder pain or arthritis, it will irritate them. I worked on someone who got abdominal pain and discomfort from doing too many traditional pushups.

You can alter pushups so that they strengthen the rotator cuff and therefore stabilize the shoulder. You can do this by being in the traditional pushup position and place one hand on the ground and the other hand on a medicine ball, basketball, anything round (I use a kettlebell). Do a few pushups like this then switch hands. Adding the element of instability causes you to use and strengthen your rotator cuff muscles. This will actually prevent shoulder issues.

The other exercises listed in the slide are safe and good to do. Try them out and see if they feel good. If it hurts, then don’t do it. Listen to your body. With exercise, above all else, do yourself no harm.

Getting into exercise can be tough and can be intimidating. It is extremely hard to stick with an exercise routine consistently for the long term. Make it as easy on yourself as possible. Plan your workouts and know which exercises are good for you and which ones are bad for you. Exercising smarter, not harder, is the Pain Free Way.



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