This model is part of why I had such a hard time getting into exercise. Exercise was painful and embarrassing, so I never did it. So then, when I did try, it was painful and embarrassing.
As much as I can, I try to not let physical pain determine whether or not I do a thing. That of course assumes that not all pain leads to lasting harm, which I think is true.
My approach to cardio is still pain-centric. Or, malaise-centric I guess. The logic goes