Why Your Brain Refuses Physical Exercise

Why Your Brain Refuses To Do Physical Exercise

If people could pop a pill instead of physical exercise, everyone would buy pills everyday instead of New Year's Eve Gym Memberships. We all know that physical movement, even as less as 30 minutes a day for three days a week will improve your overall well-being. It will improve sleep quality, strength, mood, avoid chronic illness and prevent premature death. All this without needing any gym equipment at all.

Yet, we refuse to get moving and live a sedentary lifestyle at offices and homes and during commute.

We recommend at least 20 minutes of daily moderate intensity exercises. This could include brisk walking and body-weight exercises such as push-ups -- or running and resistance training using weights.

Primary reason for modern man's reluctance to exercise is the convenience for doing everything else. One could use their private vehicle or use air-conditioned office or watch any TV show or movie at any time of the day, use voice enabled devices at multiple places, etc. These are not just conveniences that enable us to disable physical activity but also distractions that reinforce the innate desire for relaxing, irrespective of whether you are a hardworking housewife or a lethargic teenager.

Infrastructure, overcrowded cities and increasing employment competition is another modern factor. Studies say that people who don't make much money are less likely to exercise than wealthier people, possibly because they may live in areas with relatively few spaces where it’s safe and pleasant to be active.

These are understandable reasons of course. But what if your brain itself does not actually want to exercise? An innate desire to avoid exertion and save energy?

Humans are no longer hunters and gatherers and even farming is relegated to rural areas with assistance from automation and farming machinery.

So someone saying they don't feel like exercising might just be the evolutionary truth and not an excuse. We have an evolutionary instinct to conserve energy.

Other issues seem to be related to past factors such as failures in physical activity in past, including school. This affects self-esteem and self-confidence to re-attempt physical activity. It may even harbor negative feelings and memories with physical activity or exercising.

You can overcome these hurdles by following our Editor's simple suggestions:
1. Don't compare yourself with any peer or celebrity or sportsperson. Perceive your current health and near-future health goals as yours alone.
2. Don't aim for hour of workout or purchase of equipment or memberships.
3. Start with getting off the bed or couch and simple stretching -- touch your toes, raise your arms, twist your waist, etc
4. Walk without setting milestone. Just go to the nearest place such as your residence compound / garden or neighbourhood playground. Then walk back.
5. Fix the time and do the same exercises on that specific time everyday for a few weeks before increasing the range and scope of exercises. This will cultivate a habit.
6. Don't beat yourself up for missing a day's workout. Just get up and do it the next day without becoming neurotic and anxious about the past missed session. Guilt will trip your determination and confidence.
7. Don't reward yourself with food or drinks for exercising. Remember, you are exercising for improving current health conditions, so the reward will be the satisfaction of meeting daily exercise goals. After a few months, your body's strength & endurance and mind's discipline & positivity will be the best reward a person can hope for in life.
8. Keep an exercise log book. Refer it for self-learning and self-pacing of your physical exercises and changes noticed in body and mind.

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Tell us how you managed to overcome your exercising obstacles. Share your success story by email to editor@TaiJutsu.art