Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are Some of Us Born to Loathe Exercise?

Forget love.  Do you have a hate relationship with exercise?  It might not be your fault.

Running the Jerusalem Half-Marathon in 2009
Apparently some of us are simply hardwired to loathe exercise.   Researchers at the University of Missouri bred pairs of rats that voluntarily spent a lot of time running on wheels in their cages and compared their baby rats with the offspring of rats that didn't seem to enjoy running.

The rats of "active parents" were likelier to exercise.  When scientists examined their brains, they found that the running rats' Nucleus Accumbens lit up while exercising.  WTH are Nucleus Accumbens?  Well, it's part of the brain that is associated with pleasure and enjoyment.

All of this is published in the Journal of Physiology and is better explained in Parade.

So are are you destined to hate exercise?  Not so much.  The lead researcher in the study, Missouri biomedical professor Frank Booth, Ph.D., indicated that no matter what deck of gene cards you're handed "people can decide to exercise".

Taking a barre class at exhale spa
C'est Vrai.  I personally believe I am one of the folks hardwired to love exercise.  As far back as I can remember, I loved running, riding bikes and horses.  That has translated into a lifestyle as an adult that enjoys participating in these activities as well as working out at the gym, taking classes and more.

Hardwired to exercise or not, it's one of the few things you can do that can instantly lift your mood.  Don't believe me?  Go for a walk for thirty minutes.  I dare you to tell me you don't feel better.

As I have gotten older, exercise isn't so much about looking better.  It's about feeling better.  This approach to exercise can work for you, too.  It's the one thing you can do to set the tone for the day and improve your outlook automatically.

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