Our center city fitness trainers motivate clients. But they notice that many still have a tendency to skip a workout. Or they neglect getting on the bike. Or they take the elevator just a floor or two.
We always wondered if this doesn’t have something to do with how we’re “wired.”
So this article from The Washington Post by Allyson Chiu intrigued our center city fitness trainers.
And our center city fitness trainers identified with this quote:
“Our brains are conditioned to choose the easy route.” -Matthieu Boisgontier Neurological Researcher
Two main things caught their attention:
First, according to the World Health Organization over 25% of all adults don’t get enough activity. That equals 1.4 billion people. We spend so much effort and money promoting health. But it may not make much difference.
Second, Chiu cited a new study by Matthieu Boisgontier and Boris Cheval. They just published it in Neuropsycholgia, a peer-reviewed journal. The study suggests that our brains encourage us to avoid exercise.
They used a small sample of young adults. And monitored them with an electroencyphalogram (EEG) machine. The subjects moved a computerized avatar towards physical activity. Or they moved the avatar away from sedentary activity.
The subjects did or wanted to exercise. So, they showed faster reactions when they moved toward physical activity images.
But at the same time as reactions improved the brain became much more active. It worked harder. Why? To sort of apply a brake. And to ward off the temptation to exercise. The brain wants to conserve energy.
Boisgontier and Cheval propose that we have the best intentions. But note that:
“if your system is minimizing your energetic cost, your intention will not be implemented.”
They propose that it’s a biological response that’s hereditary. We needed to conserve energy to survive. And that impulse stayed with us.
Our center city fitness trainers don’t know the cause. But we are often tempted to grab the elevator to the fourth-floor studio. Even when we know that we ought to walk.
So, next time that you’re putting of exercise, don’t be quite so hard on yourself. It’s natural. Every time we do exercise we’re overcoming our hardwired desire for inertia. Give yourself some credit.
If you’d like a pat on the back for avoiding inertia, just contact us.