I exercise regularly in an effort to maintain my weight, to stay limber, to maintain a healthy heart, and to keep my immune system strong. I'm not a granola-munching kook about it, but I've kept at it dutifully and purposefully for more than 7 years. Because my aged knees move back and forth as if lined with butter laced with large shards of glass but minus the butter, I am kind of limited in the sorts of exercise that I can handle without causing severe internal bleeding or spontaneous combustion.
I have gotten comfortable going barefoot on my elliptical, but recently I messed up my foot a bit and I had to exercise for a week wearing sneakers. This slight change in my routine, curiously enough, left me so achy and sore you would have thought that I had just competed in a triathalon. This got me to thinking. Sometimes when we experience pain as a result of some new activity, it's a sign and warning that we are doing something that we shouldn't. Other times, these aches are an indication that we are stretching ourselves in a healthy manner that will lead to some positive benefit in the longer term. Of course, the pains are not necessarily limited to just physical afflictions in our bodies. They can also arise from dealing with awkward or uncomfortable feelings or situations. Ultimately, it all boils down to being wise enough to discern whether we embrace the pain and press forward, or whether we should turn and run from it.