Not everyone likes exercise. Not even the people who give it a try and then just turn to you and say, “I am NOT having fun.” For those people, it would appear that their endorphins don’t kick in, they don’t get that runner’s high that their friends talk about. And I’m willing to bet that there are more people out there who don’t like to exercise when you look at the statistics on obesity. So why is that? Are humans really that different that some enjoy exercise and others truly do not get the point?
Scientists at the University of Missouri set about to find out why so few people exercised despite the many messages out there about the benefits of exercise. They have eliminated all the typical excuses. Being busy is often put out there, but plenty of busy people find time to exercise. What, then, is going on? The researchers studied rats that were placed in an environment with an exercise wheel in it. Some really enjoyed running on the wheel, running on it almost round the clock. Other mice had no interest at all in the exercise wheel or any kind of movement that didn’t contribute to their very survival. They discovered that there really were couch potato rats. And when they bred more rats that were exercise enthusiasts and those that were couch potatoes, they created more of the same thing. An evaluation of the genes of the rats showed that there were difference in the neurons of the two categories of rats. To see if behavioral changes could make a difference, the scientists then place the couch potato rats on the exercise wheels to see what they would do. At first, they worked out and there was a noticeable change in their neurons in their brains after a week of effort. So, it looks like just working out helps, but not to the same degree as being born with the genetic tendency to exercise. The rats who loved exercise would go the equivalent of 34 km to a human in a one week time period. The couch potato rats managed to chalk up only a tenth of that.
Obviously more study needs to be done in this regard, but for those of you who don’t enjoy exercise, you’re not necessarily abnormal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t let you off the hook. Try, at least, to find some kind of exercise you enjoy so that you do move your body to some degree.