Have you spent your life thinking that you have to experience pain after a workout in order to gain results? You can go a little easier on yourself, because it’s not true. I ran 6.5 miles this morning and I’m not sore, but I definitely benefited from the workout.

Plus, if you don’t know your body well, you could mistake “good pain”—a sore muscle for example—for “bad pain”—a strained tendon or ligament.

If you are starting a new workout regime, ease in. You’ll be less likely to hate it and more likely to stick with it. If you are one of those people (like me once upon a time) who felt or feels like if it doesn’t hurt the next day you haven’t done anything worthwhile, it’s time to start retraining your brain.

This is not to say that you may not be sore after a workout or that feeling sore (in the right places) is bad, but it’s important to learn what pain is positive and negative in your body and know that you can gain a lot from a workout that doesn’t tear your muscles and force them to rebuild. You can progress and get stronger moving slowly and gently through movement.

So if you are the type that likes a workout that leaves you incredibly sore the next day, just know that doesn’t have to be the case. And if you hate exercise and do it only because you know you should, recognize that you don’t have to work until you feel like your legs are going to fall off. Find movement and an exercise program that is fun and feels good. If you find yourself incredibly sore the following day, ease in a tad slower.

It’s your body. You always have options, and you are the one in control.