Why do some people love exercise, while others seem hard-wired to hate it? Statistics show that only 4 percent of us get the recommended amount of daily exercise, while half of all baby boomers get NO physical activity at all! And until recently, most people thought that if you didn’t exercise, you were just being lazy. But according to new research from Iowa State University, it may actually come down to our body’s chemistry – because all of us have a different threshold for exercise. And it turns out, our threshold is based on how much oxygen we can physically breath in, compared to the amount of carbon dioxide we breath out.
Experts say that at some point, all of us cross a line where we just don’t have the physical capacity to keep replacing the C-O-2 in our lungs. And when that happens, we get that “burning” sensation in our muscles, that makes exercise uncomfortable and stressful. Of course, elite athletes can go for hours before they feel that muscle burn. But for sedentary people, researchers say the burn can set in from just walking around the block. And it makes sense that if you cross that line too quickly, then you’re not going to enjoy exercise – because of how it makes you feel.
So, how do you boost your exercise “threshold” in a way that’s not uncomfortable? There are some simple tricks you can use to make exercise more enjoyable. For example:
Find something you like. Try different activities until you find the one that clicks – from Aerobics to Zumba! Because when you enjoy exercise, you’ll start seeing yourself as an “athlete,” and exercising more.
Play to your strengths to help you find something you enjoy. In other words, if you feel intimidated by a room full of people using complicated machines or dance moves, then try something solitary. Or, if you’re very heavy, try exercises that take weight off your feet, like cycling or water aerobics.
Music is another motivator. People who are immersed in music, push themselves harder during a workout.
Get outdoors. Studies show that people who exercise while viewing the color green – which you’ll find everywhere outdoors – tend to feel happier with their workout than those exercising around black or white colors.
Rethink your attitude about sweat. Experts say a lot of people think sweating and being winded are bad signs, because they think it means they can’t handle exercise. Instead, think of sweat as evidence of progress – meaning, you’re doing something that’s good for your body. And all that hard breathing and sweat is helping you achieve your fitness goals.