Discover The So-Called Physiological Reasons Why Some People Are Hard-Wired To Hate Exercise And Learn The Simple, Rarely-Acknowledged Solution To Overcome This Predicament
Note: that photo cracks me up every time.
I know a few people who just hate exercising. Period. And truth be told, I can’t blame them. Exercise can be both boring and exciting, hard and easy. And if it’s a whole new world for you, it can be difficult to make exercise right for you (so that it’s both enjoyable and rewarding). In fact, I’d even go as far to say that most people who start exercising for the first time do so in both a boring and hard manner, which one could argue, predisposes oneself to a higher likelihood of failure. That’s just the way it goes most of the time, and it should come as no surprise when we look at the rate of quitters in the exercise community. Don’t believe me? Just join a gym around New Years and you’ll see what I mean.
Now, I was reading an article in The Wall Street Journal (thanks to John Belkewitch of Day 1 Personal Training for the reference) about how certain people seem to be hard-wired to exercise, and others are not. It was a fascinating read that sheds much-needed insight into some of the inner-workings of our physically-starved culture, and even offers a simple solution for how to improve the situation we’ve been spiraling down into for decades.
So, what I’ve done is post most of the relevant sections of the article (ie practically the whole thing actually), and I’ve included my commentary beneath each one. This is also an exercise in transparency for me because what follows is basically an inside-look at my thought-processes while reading health and fitness articles in mainstream media sources. And yes, I do come a bit unhinged sometimes. So, prepare thyself.
But alas, I’m posting my thoughts for you here, complete with a direct explanation as to the solution for those who tend to hate exercise or avoid physical activity, in general (but that’s not you, right?). You’re gonna hate me when I’m done. Ok ok. Hate may be too harsh a term. You may be slightly unsettled and feel a distinct annoyance towards me after reading this. Please hold the redhead jokes.
Continue reading Why Certain People Are Hard-Wired to Hate Exercise (and what to do about it)
So, what is it? Heart disease? Cancer? Diabetes? The black death?
Surprisingly, it’s none of those things. And truth be told, you’re probably not going to like the answer. The biggest public health problem of the 21st century may, in fact, be physical inactivity.
Right now, you may be thinking “Duh! That’s why I train for 8 hours a day! It’s about time I got some recognition.” Or, perhaps you’re feeling the slightest twinge of guilt, because you’re not as physically active as you’d like to be (and probably should be). Either way, it’s ok! So, let’s move on.
In a not-so-distant study that appeared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Professor Stephen Blair proposed that, “There is now overwhelming evidence that regular physical activity has important and wide-ranging health benefits. These range from reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers to enhanced function and preservation of function with age. I believe that evidence supports the conclusion that physical inactivity is one of the most important public health problems of the 21st century, and may even be the most important.
Continue reading The Massive Public Health Problem That Nobody Is Talking About
I tend to care about things that I can use to improve my health, make me stronger, and ultimately better prepare me for the future. If you’re in the same boat, then I’m going to share a concept with you that may challenge some of the things you know about training, stress, and adaptation. I’m also going to show you how brain-dead easy it is to start using this in your lifestyle. But you’ll have to pay attention or you might not “get” it.
I believe it was Nietzsche who said, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” and the more we are learning about the human body, the more correct he has become with time.
You see, there’s this little phenomenon known as hormesis.
You know… Hormesis.
OK, I had never heard of the term either – at least not until a few months ago.
According to Mark Mattson, whom, if I’m reading this correctly, is a neuroscientist, “In the fields of biology and medicine hormesis is defined as an adaptive response of cells and organisms to a moderate (usually intermittent) stress. Examples include ischemic preconditioning, exercise, dietary energy restriction and exposures to low doses of certain phytochemicals.”
In case the PhD lingo fogged up your brain for a second there, here’s another definition from Stephan Guyenet that is a bit simpler: “Hormesis is the process by which a mild or acute stressor increases resistance to other, more intense or chronic stressors.” (source here)
So, you see, at least two people agree with Nietzsche, including a doctor, which obviously makes Friedrich uber-correct on this issue and way ahead of his time (Surely, nobody thought that about him!).
But back on point, let’s get a little more specific with this explanation from Todd Becker: “Hormesis is a biological phenomenon whereby a beneficial effect (improved health, stress tolerance, growth or longevity) results from exposure to low doses of an agent that is otherwise toxic or lethal when given at higher doses. The philosophy of Hormetism… is based upon harnessing this biological phenomenon in a deliberate and systematic way in order to increase strength and resilience.” (source here)
NOW we’re starting to make some sense – thanks Todd! Exercise is a perfect example of hormesis. You stress the body just enough to elicit a positive adaptation. Vaccinations are another example as is taking a cold shower. There are tons of examples out there!
Todd goes on to say, “Hormetism puts forward the thesis that progressive hormesis is a general phenomenon that applies to virtually any stressor. Following the principles of intensity, constraint, oscillation, and gradualism… it should be possible to increase strength and tolerance with respect to a wide, virtually unlimited range of challenges and stressors.”
In other words, given the right dose, stress is extremely good for us in many ways. Are you starting to see the far-reaching implications this could have? Yeah, me too, but you’ll want to keep a few things in mind before you load a thousands pounds on the barbell or sign up for the special forces. So, let’s keep going!
Continue reading How to Leverage Stress to Max Out in Life
Thanks to Chris at Conditioning Research for bringing this to my attention. The dangers associated with prolonged sitting is an important subject that we should not overlook. It was discussed here on Physical Living in an article from early 2010: Too Much Sitting = Too Bad For Your Health.
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Natural movement has become a trendy topic these days with the rapidly rising awareness of parkour, freerunning, primal fitness, barefooting, and most recently, MovNat, which teaches the “natural movement training system.” Just the phrase itself, natural movement, begs an explanation. What is natural movement, and more importantly, are some movements more natural than others? If we can postulate that certain human movements are natural, then logically, some other movements must be unnatural. This creates problems in the fitness and natural movement communities because one group will argue that their movements are natural, and the other groups will disagree. This article will explore the middle ground that all parties mutually agree upon. By the end, you will have a working definition of natural movement and you’ll also understand the irony that natural movement doesn’t come naturally.
What is Natural Movement?
It might not be practical, but it's still natural!
There is no single accepted definition for natural movement because everyone has a different perspective about what the term natural implies. Some people argue that natural movement is only possible in a natural environment (think woodlands or tundra). Others argue that natural movement is possible in any environment that humans inhabit. Still others claim that natural movement must meet specific criteria before it is deemed “natural” (such as serving a practical purpose, for instance – if it’s not practical, it can’t be natural, after all – right?). By now, you can see the many disparities that arise out of the vagueness of the phrase natural movement.
We know that the term natural is defined as “of, relating to, or concerning nature.” A simpler definition is “in accordance with nature.” Therefore, natural movement is any movement that is in accordance with nature. As humans, we are of nature. Therefore, the movement capacities we have are natural. So, it’s logical to claim that any possible human movement is a natural movement.
This is most obvious with movements such as walking, running, and lifting. But within the spectrum of possible human movement, we must include such practices as acrobatics, athletics, martial art, dance, and even physical activities like contortionism and yoga, which may seem quite unnatural from some viewpoints. By this broad definition, waving to a friend, saluting your superior, doing the splits, and embracing a loved one are all natural movements. Continue reading Natural Movement Doesn’t Come Naturally: You Weren’t Born Perfect