As a reformed couch potato I found this article by Shirley S. Wang fascinating. online.wsj.com/article/S
“…scientists are looking at the body's biological and chemical processes for clues to understanding what's behind differing attitudes toward exercise.”
We apparently all have a “ventilatory threshold". When we exceed it, we release more carbon dioxide and take in less oxygen. Muscles become more acidic (build up lactic acid), which the body finds stressful. The ‘average’ threshold is 50-60% of maximum capacity, but ranges from 35% for sedentary folk to 85% for Olympic athletes.
1. How people interpret their body's sensations during and after exercise plays a large role in whether they enjoy (and continue) it.
2. People's physical capacity could be much lower than many realize, so many people push beyond their limits (the body becomes stressed and begins to feel bad) without realizing it.
- “Obese, sedentary but otherwise healthy middle-aged women can reach their ventilatory threshold after just one minute at a slow pace on a treadmill and some can reach their maximum capacity simply by doing the dishes or cooking.” No wonder even walking is “too hard for many people”.
3. External factors can help us build our threshold (and therefore our maximum)
- Listening to music (or watching TV) as we use the treadmill
- Color can affect our moods (especially green)
- “…exercising in nature … could be helpful for exercisers”
4. Psychological factors and cognitive tricks can help boost the motivation to move. We’re more likely to exercise if we
- feel confident (we’ve all felt discouraged from exercising by not knowing what to do or how to do it)
- feel in control or have a choice
- participate in an activity that fosters social relatedness (buddying up and having fun!)
Great ideas as we listen to our bodies and become "AWAKE! ALIVE! AWARE! and Appreciative of ALL that IS".