Are you a couch potato?
I used to think the only thing keeping couch potatoes from the gym was, well, themselves!
But, it seems there’s some evidence to suggest it’s not merely a motivation problem, but also genetics separating the fitness fanatics from the slouches.
Here are 3 steps to overcoming your couch potato lifestyle
1. Dress appropriately
If you can’t seem to get over the feeling of reluctance to exercise, get dressed in your outdoor clothes anyway–it’s actually quite uncomfortable to sit glued to your t.v. if you’re wearing clothes for going out. Remember, staying in your pajamas all day won’t encourage exercise in the slightest!
2. Write down your goals
Goal setting is a great way to get some focus. So, write down what you want to achieve in the coming days, as well as for the weeks and months ahead. Then make sure you display them somewhere visible to help maintain that focus.
3. Move in the right direction
If you haven’t exercised lately, first try out a few stretches, then head out for a short walk. Next week think about going for a longer walk, and perhaps adding in an exercise DVD, etc. The idea is to begin small, and aim for bigger things.
While it may be difficult to stop being a couch potato, it is possible. You just need to immerse yourself in activity, and begin enjoying the more active life.
Can I Blame My Genes?
Before you get too carried away though, science doesn’t imply that people unwilling to exercise CAN’T get moving. But, it does help to explain why some people find it more difficult than others to get on with the job!
A 2006 Swedish study looked at leisure-time physical activity in 5,334 identical, and 8,028 fraternal twins. They found the exercise habits of identical twins (genetic duplicates) were twice as closely matched, as those of fraternal twins (share half their genes on average). These finding imply genes account for much of the variability in physical activity levels between people.
Another 2006 study, which pooled data on exercise participation in more than 37,000 twin pairs, calculated the genetic influence on physical activity to be between 48 percent and 71 percent.
So, what makes some people actually want to exercise?
Studies in the past have linked physical activity levels to dopamine. A 1998 study showed that mice deficient in a receptor involved in processing dopamine, the D2 receptor, were less active than those with normal D2 receptor levels.
According to Amy Knab, an exercise physiologist at Appalachian State University:
There’s something inherently different in the dopamine systems of the high-runners, versus low-runners.
But, before you get too excited that you’ve now got a valid excuse to sit on the couch, environment is still thought to play a major role in how much exercise someone takes. For example, Glen Duncan from the University of Washington, states that if people walk into a building and are confronted with a set of stairs first thing, they will probably take them. But, if there’s an escalator front and center, they’ll take that instead.
So, if you are naturally inclined to be a couch potato, what can you do to encourage more exercise?
Are you naturally inclined towards exercise? What are your tips for avoiding a couch potato lifestyle?
Source: LA Times