The longer you put off exercising the more likely you won’t exercise, seems to be common sense, but recent neurological studies provide fact to this fiction.
Most of us fear something new, and are apprehensive about making a fool of ourselves. Because of this fear, we anticipate an unpleasant experience and keep pushing that first step further back.
It’s not uncommon to feel like this about fitness.
But if we keep putting exercise off, our bodies can forget what we’ve learnt and it becomes harder to get back into old routines.
Studies tell us that overweight women’s brains respond differently to exercise than the brains of leaner women. This new research suggests that our attitude and habits towards fitness may rely more steadily on our body’s shape and size than previously understood.
The more interesting results of this study however, is that when overweight women viewed pictures of exercise and activity, the portion of their brain relating to movement memory remained silent. So, in the end, the results translate down into a simple and well known fact of life – that trying something new and unknown is scary.
when overweight women viewed pictures of exercise and activity, the portion of their brain relating to movement memory remained silent
During the study, scientist recruited 13 women who were healthy, young and of normal-weight and 13 women who were overweight or obese. They were then asked to fill out two questionnaires that addressed how desirable or unpleasant each woman expected exercise to be.
The women were then asked to lie down under a functional M.R.I (magnetic resonance imaging) machine that would record the activity of their brains whilst they viewed images of exercise that included running, dancing and sport and images of lounging, relaxing and sitting.
The results of the scans showed that when leaner women look at images of exercise the area of the brain relating to reward and an urge to like things receives more activity. Whilst when overweight women view these same images, the same area of the brain remains still, suggesting that they instinctively view exercise negatively.
These results may only be because the body does not know, or remember how to approach exercise.
The trick is to not let the fear of the unknown stop us from becoming healthier and relax into the rhythm of working out that comes with familiarity.
By BB Intern Dominique Tait
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