It’s time. My alarm is set and my sneakers are ready to witness a workout that will begin the next new me.
Sound familiar? Many people find it hard to get motivated for a “big workout” at the gym, or getting up at 5 am for a 5 mile run. However, scientists have found that peoples’ bodies are not only physically different when it comes to exercise but also in the way they perceive the exercise and in the way that they get motivated. They believe that it is all linked to an individuals’ body chemistry and this chemistry can determine whether we find exercise a chore or a pleasure.
What Determines My Level of Activity?
“If we do not move it, we lose it.” This adage rings true for not only our waist lines but our motivation to enjoy the exercise that will keep us in shape. For instance, people have different levels of physical capacity, there are people that find going for a walk is more than enough exercise for them. Whereas, others find that spending hours working out in the gym is still not enough. Unfortunately we typically find that more sedentary people feel that walking or doing a few sit-ups are sufficient.
A persons’ physical capacity is based on their ventilatory threshold. In the majority of people, when at rest, the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled is equal to the amount of oxygen inhaled. When we exercise we pass the ventilatory threshold and the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled is greater than the amount of oxygen inhaled. This action causes the muscles to produce lactic acid and the body creates a stress response. Most peoples’ ventilatory threshold is at 50-60% of their maximum exercise capacity. For more sedentary people it can be as low as 35%.
The way we look at exercise also contributes to our chemistry and our motivation to do it. If you are one of those people that hates exercise and finds it extremely hard to get motivated, what can you do?
Where Do I Start My Motivation to Exercise?
The first big step is pick an exercise that you enjoy doing and then ease yourself into it, particularly if you haven’t been active for a while. Be careful for if you push yourself too hard at the start of your exercise program it is only going to make you feel worse and discourage you from continuing.
If you have led a sedentary lifestyle and have not been exercising start with a simple form of exercise that takes the weight off of your feet, such as a light swim or water aerobics. To gain motivation and help with committing to form a healthy lifestyle routine take up a social exercise activity. This can mean joining a class at your local gym or just going for a walk with a group of friends.
Another tip is to try the media to help get you motivated. Listening to your favorite songs or watching T.V. when you are exercising as a distraction can help to keep you motivated and improve the results of exercising.
Join a team or enjoy it alone but the bottom line is that if you enjoy the exercise you are doing there is more chance that you will stay motivated and persevere to get the results you want.
Would You Like Some Help?
Our expert integrated physical medicine team specializes in your health and well being. We want to help you achieve your health goals that may contain weight loss, better nutrition, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and overall optimal health. If you are just starting your exercise program or an athletic pro, let us help you obtain your goals of optimal health and performance.
For Your Health,
Dr. Leo McCormick, Dr. Darryl Hajduczek, and Dr. Leslie Freeman