If you're the type of person who's ever huffed and puffed, struggling to push through a treadmill session while secretly wanting to slap that smug smile off the lanky runner effortlessly trotting next to you, you're not alone! And now it looks like there may be a physiological reason why some people dislike exercise more than others.
Hoping to encourage more people to leave the couch and move, researchers at Iowa State University are studying the body's biological and chemical processes to better understand the attitudes people have about exercise. So far they've made a few surprising discoveries, including that our interpretation of our body's sensations while we sweat it out influences how we feel about exercise in general.
Everyone, no matter their fitness level, has a physical capacity for exertion beyond which the body becomes stressed and begins to feel bad. Researchers estimate that anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of that stems from genetic factors such as lung capacity, oxygen transport, and the rate at which oxygen is used in the muscle cells.
This physical capacity will vary from person to person, and some people may start out with more ability than others, but oftentimes people, especially sedentary ones, unwittingly push themselves too far, too soon, which can be discouraging, physically painful, and cause them to stop exercising altogether.
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Ultimately the Iowa State researchers stressed that it's important for adults to try new things as well as start slowly.
We agree! At SHAPE, we've long since recommended that you find a workout you'll love because you'll be more likely to stick with it. Here are a few tips to help exercise be more enjoyable.
1. Stop trying so hard. It's important to challenge yourself, but you don't want to push youself to the point of injury, nor do you want to go so far past your ventilatory threshold (the point at which your body starts to feel bad) that you stress yourself out. Plus, the Iowa State resarchers noted in their research that the more positive experiences people have with exercise, the more likely they are to keep at it. So if you notice your resolve waning, don't force it, give yourself a break for a couple of days, and check out these 22 ways to stay motivated. You'll be more refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle your goals again in no time.
2. Let Pinterest inspire you. They say a picture's worth a thousand words. We say these pinworthy photos are about to be worth 1,000 calories—burned!
3. Ask for help. From weight-loss bloggers to fitness websites to the nation's powerhouse fitness and diet experts, there is an almost unlimited amount of resources at your fingertips. If you're feeling stressed, worried, or have a question about something, reach out to someone for advice! You may gain a new perspective on health or fitness.