If excercise is good for us why is it uncomfortable and such mental hard work?
Why do I
If excercise is good for us why is it uncomfortable and such mental hard work?
Probably because, evolutionarily speaking, humans didn’t have to “excersize” to avoid obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. They got all they needed running away from saber toothed tigers and the like.
Also, through most of human history famine and starvation were a far more likely danger than eating yourself to death. Therefore we are programmed to more or less eat as much food as we can (because our ancestors were not necessarily assured there would be any food tomorrow) and to minimize energy expenditures to save calories. That’s also why high calorie (fatty) foods taste so good…you are genetically programmed to crave them!
Be aware also that exercise isn’t necessarily “uncomfortable and such mental hardwork” for those who are relatively fit.
I agree with Skogcat. I find that when I am fit, and in the midst of exercising, I experience this pleasant feeling in my muscles and it makes me want to move more. It feels like a release, accompanied by a good physical sensation. I might add it took about a year of swimming 3X a week before I noticed this. I see men sometimes grunting and groaning and straining when they lift weights and intuitively it doesn’t seem natural. I believe that in fitness one should emphasize duration and persistence more than effort, from my own experience. Also, I think regimented movement, like in formal exercise, is unnatural (however the most practical for everyday exercise). We were meant to have sufficient exercise going about our daily living, but have taken the road where we have to move less and less to get by. I often think of the Incans, who could run at high altitudes over mountain trails for three days with messages for the king. Now that is what we can be.
Actually, the whole “Endophrine High” thing makes exercise pretty enjoyable.
I dunno if this is what it’s like for other guys who are lifting heavy weights, but it’s a pleasurable activity, even though it’s a lot of work. The endorphin high (sorry, alice, but your spelling just doesn’t look right to me) is definitely a factor, but there’s also a sense of power you have when you’re moving a lot of weight.
Bacon is bad for us and it is good. Sugar is sweet but it is bad for us. Hamburgers are delicious but they are bad for us. Chocolate cookies are most people favorite cookie but they are bad for us.
A heart bypass can be good for us. Having a root canal can be good for us. Telling the truth is good for us. Loving your enemy is good for you.
It must not have to make sense!
Exercise is only uncomfortable for those who are out of shape. If you just stick to it long enough, you’ll come to find that exercise becomes pleasurable.
In high school I did track and field. I was the top sprinter at my relatively small school and took a few ribbons at interscholastic track meets for other small schools. I was 170 pounds and six feet two inches.
I am now heavier and older. I exercise when I can force my self to do it but it obviously isn’t enough. Exercise has been unpleasant for as long as I can remember; it was no less unpleasant in high school. I forced myself to do it in high school because “physical education” credits were required for graduation and because the popular kids seemed to despise me less when I showed some athletic prowess. Then as now, any serious exercise leaves me with muscle aches, burning lungs, and a general feeling of utter futility.
Can anyone who finds exercise pleasant describe in more detail how it makes them feel? I am just curious because I can’t tell if it is just my reactions that are different (i.e., I am a wimp or exercise-fancier are masochists), or if it is the actual physical sensations that are different.
Do your lungs feel different during exercise? Does the abnormality feel good or bad? How long after exercise does it take for your lungs to feel normal again?
Do you commonly get muscle tremors during or after exercise?
Do you ever have a period of slowed thinking during or after exercise? I’m not sure I can describe this correctly … do you ever feel like mental processes which should be easy are quite difficult?
How do your ankles feel after exercise?
Is the “endorphine high” commonly regarded as a real phenomenon? I have heard it mentioned a lot but I have wondered if it might be an urban legend since I have never experienced anything remotely like it. How long are you supposed to have to exercise before if occurs?
I have known runners who could not function without their 5 or 10 mile runs every day. The body grows to demand the exercise and it really feels good to get it going.
Just to add another phenomenon to this discussion… I lift weight 3-4 times a week. Weight-lifting demands a lot of exertion, and it is uncomfortable, however your muscles feel great right after a workout. It’s called “the pump”. Your muscles are filled with blood, and they feel like iron. Although due to the exertion your muscles are actually pretty weak after the workout, they feel nice and strong.
In fact, if I miss two sessions, my muscles will actually start to feel atrophied. It feels very bad, and so now I am driven to work out, whether I want to or not. However, this phenomenon seems to be unique to me, and it’s probably a purely mental thing.
I dunno, I actually feel pretty good during weightlifting. Sure, it’s tough as hell, but…hell, I can’t describe it very well. It does feel good, though.
I’ve got to respectfully disagree. I served in the military and was in the peak of physical fitnesss, but I never enjoyed exercising. It is uncomfortable and tiring, and there’s also the feeling that it’s a total waste of time, because one could be doing something more worthwhile, like reading something, or hanging out on the SDMB.
It’s not uncomfortable all all! In fact, it’s very enjoyable. All that heavy breathing, sweating, pumping . . . oh, we’re talking about exercise!
Chalk me up as one who’s never particularly enjoyed the feeling of exercise. Sure, there’s times where it’s ok, but usually because of something besides how you feel, ie, it’s a pretty day out, so going for a bike ride is somewhat pleasant. But the feeling itself? No way. Not that I’m a huge jock or anything, but I try to run and/or bike for at least an hour every other day or so. I do it because the health benefits are good, not because I like the feeling.
For me, it depends on the type of exercise. I was a swimmer in high school, and I would swim 2 hrs a day, 6 days a week. I loved swimming. Even now, when my swimming muscles are not even close to what they used to be, I enjoy swimming. Even though it hurts a bit, the exertion and effort is actually somewhat comfortable.
However, RUNNING is like putting me in an iron maiden. Unfortunately, in the Army, I have to run all the time. I despise running. If I’m running really slowly, it’s fine, and I’m not in serious pain, but if I run fast enough to actually get a workout, it is always extremely uncomfortable. I hate it with a passion. If never had to run another day in my life, I’d be happy. Unfortunately, I need to run all the time.
Some exercise feels good, and some feels unpleasant, but I’ve never regretted a workout after the fact. That’s when it really feels good.
I ran before I joined the Army and liked it after the initial breaking-in period. I ran at my own pace and distance. Then the Army did its best to make me hate running by forcing me to attempt to run much faster than I could, leaving me gasping for air, lungs burning. Now that I’m out, I have taken up running again and I do it because I enjoy it. It feels good. Sorry I can’t describe it better.
Two points: 1) It’s not necessarily so much the exercise itself that feels good, but the aftermath. For the next day or two, I’ll feel much better after a good workout.
2) An interesting sport makes workouts much easier to bear. I can’t stand running just for running and usually can’t muster the mental fortitude to keep myself running hard enough for any length of time. But chasing my man on a basketball court keeps me motivated enough to work hard (and is mentally fun and enjoyable, too).
Your follow-up questions seem to indicate that you are doing the wrong kind of excercise for you. And possibly working much too hard at it. When you excercise I’ve always been told you should be able to speak but not sing during the excercise. The idea is to get your heart working harder over a period of 20+ minutes. If you give your full-out effort to the point where your lungs are burning you probably can’t maintain it for 20 minutes or more. Start slow and as your aerobic fitness increases, slowly increase the workout.
Also, if your ankles or knees hurt after working out then you may have chosen a workout with too much impact for you. I have terrible knees – I simply cannot run for excercise, as it is too damaging and painful. There are still plenty of excercises I can do, for example I can swim, or walk, or use low-impact machines at the gym. Typically, when muscles are weak, joints take a lot of strain. As your muscles become stronger, they will support your joints more. Work on making your leg muscles stronger and pain in the ankles will be reduced.