I’ve wondered how some of my friends can really get into exercising, some even doing ultramarathons and climbing mountains all over the world. Me? I’m just comfortable here sitting at a comfy chair at work.
But before your label me as “lazy”, there’s a real scientific reason why many people turn into couch potatoes.
Why Some People Hate Exercise
For most people, moderate physical activity helps them release dopamine. Dopamine is a reward molecule, making us feel good whenever we have it in our system. Thus, the more you exercise, the more dopamine is released, the better you feel, and the more exercise you do.
But for some people, this biological process doesn’t work as expected, as revealed by one study. Researchers have found that impairment in dopaminergic pathways, the system used to deliver dopamine to brains receptors, is related to chronic inactivity.
This means exercise just doesn’t feel that good for some people since they don’t get a rewarding dopamine hit from doing physical activity. This finding counters the argument that lack of exercise is merely the result of a lack of willpower or what we usually call “laziness”.
If this is a problem for you, the good news is that this is actually a condition you can easily fix with just a bit of work, making exercise once again a rewarding experience.
The Easy Way To Add Exercise And Make It A Habit
To repair your pathways, you just need to step up your physical activity one notch at a time. Easier said than done, of course. So here are a few tips to get you started.
- Create a clear, short-term exercise goal, something you can easily achieve right now. It can be something as simple as a walk around the block.
- Stick to that small goal each day for around a week. You can adjust it to be a bit more challenging the week after, if you like.
- As your physical activity level increases, your dopamine receptors will light up once again. Soon, not only will your daily exercise become a habit, it will be something you truly enjoy and look forward to.
- Ramp up your exercise goals as you see fit and make sure you properly fuel your body for this exercise. This means improving your diet so that the food you eat will support the type and amount of physical activity you do.
Improving your dopamine intake not only helps you feel good, it also facilitates motor learning, helps you make better decisions and makes your movements more fluid.
Being active and energetic isn’t only for athletes. You can include some exercise in your life as well and even enjoy it. So let’s get up and get moving!
And once you get into a daily exercise habit, you can start reaping its benefits as well.