But I don’t feel like exercising… – Harvard Health Blog

Shortly after the publication of the first fitness magazine, a list likely followed soon after, ranking the best fitness equipment. This tradition continued, with the implicit message: use this and the exercise will be yours.

And that’s part of the problem, says Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of biological sciences and human evolutionary biology at Harvard University.. There is nothing “better” for achieving physical shape. Besides, people already know that. They heard the federal recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. They understand that exercise is good for them.

Knowledge of exercise still does not motivate

Before we can answer why, it helps to look at the story. Before the Industrial Revolution, people fetched water and climbed the stairs because they had to. But technology, like elevators and cars, has made life and work easier. Exercise has become something that people have to devote time to and want to to do. Unsurprisingly, they usually don’t. “It’s a fundamental instinct to avoid physical activity when it’s neither necessary nor rewarding,” he says.

It would seem that being in good health is considered necessary, but a doctor’s prescription for exercise “can make you feel like you’re taking cod liver oil,” says Lieberman. “Sometimes it works, but more often it doesn’t.” And it always comes across as an order, usually related to weight loss or disease prevention, and “not having a heart attack in five years is not an immediate reward,” says Professor Dr. Beth Frates. assistant of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard. Medicine School.

Frates adds that people might not want to exercise because it has never been enjoyable. Most of us probably have memories of going to the gym, not being picked for a team, or being in a fitness center full of fit people. As she says, “The majority don’t feel excited. However, coaching people in an empowering and motivating way can work a lot better than ordering someone to exercise. Helping people feel and enjoy the release of endorphins and the increased dopamine and serotonin that come with exercise is essential. “

One major obstacle is that exercise tends to be packaged as only counting if it includes certain clothing, gadgets, trainers, or even a gym. These can help, but they are not necessary, and if you are older or if you do not have access to such things or money for such things, people may think that exercise doesn’t work. is not for them.

But it can be. Lieberman and Frates say it starts with a broad definition of what counts as exercise, and an injection of what is rarely used to describe exercise, but is certainly allowed: namely, pleasure.

Develop your plan

There isn’t just one way to exercise, but these steps can help you determine what works for you.

Make it personal. Some people need the gym because it offers programs and defines “their workout,” but the essential part of exercising is to raise your heart rate and there are almost options for doing that. unlimited. “It’s not gym or jogging,” says Frates.

She adds that if you’re stumped, it helps to think about what you enjoyed in the past, even as a kid. It might get you to get a Hula Hoop – a solid workout and a good laugh – but it could also make you realize that the possibilities are closer than you imagined. People never talk about dancing, playing football, or taking a walk with friends as exercising, but they can all qualify, says Lieberman.

Start small. Time is a common excuse and 150 minutes a week seems like a lot. Reducing it to 21 minutes a day makes it less true, but if you overdo it too soon you risk getting hurt, and that’s another negative and deterrent connotation. Although you will want to get permission from your primary care physician, especially if you have been inactive, it is reasonable to start at five minutes, twice a day, three days a week, and increase slowly. “The goal is to sit less and move more,” says Frates. “Some are better than nothing.”

Remove the obstacles. Sometimes inertia is hard to overcome because you don’t know a good hiking route in your neighborhood or don’t have suitable sneakers for walking. Your first “workouts” may be what you need, and after that you don’t have to leave the house. It can be seated on a stability ball as a desk chair or use a portable pedal board while you are sitting and watching TV or reading. It’s all about momentum forward. “Start where you’re ready to start,” says Frates.

Increase the chatter. Lieberman says exercising with others is essential. “We are social creatures,” he says. “It’s more fun going to the movies with other people.” When you are in a group or even with another person, there is an unspoken contract and subtle peer pressure: I will show up because you show up and we can arbitrate. More than that, you can talk. If it’s on foot, no one thinks of time or distance. If it’s dancing there is also music and you can do that via Zoom. Whatever you choose, you’re more likely to stick with it. “It makes the process joyful,” says Frates. “Fear is not a big motivation, but laughter, fun and love are.”

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Jothi Venkat

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