No matter how beneficial fitness can be, the pain, the time consuming effort and the negative sensations have ironically created a very unhealthy relationship between you and this very healthy activity.
Truthfully it's not your fault. There are some very legitimate reasons you may have grown to hate fitness, but there is hope.
Here are some easy to follow solutions to address your very real concerns. Then you can begin to fall in love with fitness and experience the benefits of a healthier, more enriched quality of life.
Fitness is Associated With Pain
Often times the uncomfortable and painful feelings you may get during or after exercise deter you from wanting to get fit. This isn't just about the aches you feel days after a hard workout. It's also about knee pain, back pain, arthritis and other very real body pains that make the idea of going through a fitness program unbearable. It's a natural human reaction to avoid any stimuli that causes us pain, exercise included.
The thing is, the body was meant to move. The more you move, the more pain-free you'll be. At first the type of movement isn't as important as the act of getting started. So instead of starting with resistance training or high intensity cardio, find a type of movement that brings relaxation and joy to stiff and sore body parts.
Draw a hot bath or take a hot shower to loosen up stiff and sore muscles then immediately afterward try a stretch routine. Begin with stretches such as reaching for your toes while sitting, legs extended in front of you or interlace your fingers behind your back while standing, to elongate tight muscles and increase mobility.
Fitness is associated with complicated Exercises
The fitness industry is growing so quickly that there's always buzz around the newest fitness move or best form of exercise. But the newer the move the more complicated it looks. It takes time to learn and you question if you're doing the exercise right or if you're causing more harm than good.
You want the amazing health benefits exercise provides, but you don't want the complication that goes with it. So take away the complication and do basic fitness moves you'll only need to learn once. Pick one exercise for each body part to ensure you're getting a well-rounded program.
All complicated exercises are created out of only a few core fitness moves. The squat, chest push up, triceps push up, row and plank are all examples of core fitness moves. Learn them once, put them together and you'll have an easy "go-to" fitness routine.
Fitness is Associated Exhaustion
A very real complaint exercise haters have is that fitness takes energy that they lack to begin with. While exercise helps increases overall energy levels over time, it may feel torturous to muster up the energy even to get off of the couch when you try to incorporate fitness back into your life. Admittedly, if this sounds like you then maybe you shouldn't focus on exercise at first.
Lack of energy is often associated with a poor diet, including deficiencies in healthy vitamins and minerals that enhance the much needed energy you need to later work out. Don't give up on fitness forever, but if lack of energy is making you hate fitness, then for the next four to six weeks focus solely on a nutritious diet made up of vegetables such as dark leafy greens, lean fat proteins and complex carbohydrates. Afterwards it's time to reassess and try fitness once again.
Fitness is Associated with Intimidation and Boredom
The Exercise Hater may feel uncoordinated, unfit and perhaps even embarrassed to work out in public. Even when you find a fitness program you can do, over time you feel bored and want to give up.
Here's the thing: fitness only became popular because we as a society stopped all "natural" forms of movement. That is, walking, crouching, climbing hills, taking stairs, digging and gardening are all natural forms of movement.
You can add these back into your life and it will surely help towards great health. In today's society where movement is scarce, it's important to monitor how much you do. Pedometers and fitness technology allow you to calculate everything from walking, climbing stairs to outdoor activity. As a basic goal try to get at least 10,000 steps per day -- and more is always better.
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Earlier this year, Dartmouth researchers added support to mounting evidence about the way that exercise affects learning and mental acuity: it boosts the production of “brain derived neurotrophic factor" -- or BDNF – a protein that is thought to help with mental acuity, learning and memory.
In the same Dartmouth study, the researchers discovered that, thanks to the BDNF boost, exercise also helped to alleviate ADHD-like symptoms in juvenile rats. Since BDNF is involved in the brain's development and growth of new cells, the effect was more profound on the younger rats, with their still-developing brains and more rapid cell turnover, compared to adult rats.
Even one exercise session can help you retain physical skills by enhancing what's commonly known as "muscle memory" or "motor memory," according to new research published in PlosOne. As the New York Times reported, men who were taught to follow a complicated pattern on a computer and subsequently exercised were better able to remember the pattern in subsequent days than the men who didn't exercise after the initial squiggle test.
In one study, mice that exercised by running not only generated new neurons, but those neurons lit up when the mice performed unfamiliar tasks like navigating a new environment.
When you exercise, your pituitary gland releases endorphins to help mitigate the physical stress and pain you are experiencing. But those endorphins may play a more important and longer-lasting role: they could help alleviate symptoms of depression, according to a Mayo Clinic report.
Although exercising raises our levels of cortisol -- the hormone that causes physical stress and is even associated with long-term memory impairment -- its overall effect is one of a stress reducer. That's because exercise increases the body's threshold for cortisol, making you more inured to stressors.
As we get older, an area of the brain called the hippocampus shrinks. That's why age is associated with memory loss across the board. However, profound memory loss -- such as in dementia and Alzheimer's disease patients -- is also contributed to by accelerated hippocampus shrinking. Luckily, the hippocampus is also an area of the brain that generate new neurons throughout a lifespan. And, the research shows, exercise promotes new neural growth in this area.
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