Many people find it hard to get motivated for a “big workout” at the gym, or getting up at 5am for a 10 mile run. However, scientists have found that many peoples’ bodies are different in the way that they get motivated. It is all linked to an individuals’ body chemistry and this can determine whether we find exercise a chore or a pleasure.
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. It all depends on the type of the person, typically more sedentary people feel that walking or doing a few sit-ups are sufficient.
Every Person’s Physical Capacity Is Different
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 motivation to do it. There are many people that love to lift weights and push their body to the limits, whereas there are people that find it unpleasant. If you are one of the people that hates exercise and finds it extremely hard to get motivated, what can you do? First, ease yourself into it, particularly if you haven’t been active for a while. 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. You can start with a simple form of exercise that takes the weight off of your feet, such as a light swim or water aerobics. Another option is to 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. The support of other people will help to increase your motivation.
Choose An Activity That You Enjoy!
Try the media to help get you motivated. Listening to your favorite songs or watching T.V. when you are exercising can help to keep you motivated and improve the results of exercising. Finally, pick an exercise that you enjoy doing. Many people enjoy team sports and excel at them, others are more confident participating in an individual sport, such as running or swimming. If you enjoy the exercise you are doing there is more chance that you will persevere and get the results you want.
Any amount of exercise is good for you. Don’t feel pressured into doing more exercise than you feel comfortable doing. Just enjoy the exercise you are doing and you will keep the motivation!
For Your Health,
Dr. Joseph Gambardella, Dr. Todd Brown and Dr. Benjamin Erb