Almost all of us know how regular physical activity/exercise can improve our health, both physically and mentally. But we hear people saying, “I really don’t have the time to exercise every day!” Some groan that they are unable to do it even three times a week. Not exercising or staying idle for long periods of time can have adverse effects on your health. In this blog, let us look into the factors that lead us to be sedentary. We will also discuss the reasons why we lack the motivation to exercise even if we have the time to do it.

Barriers to Exercise

As human beings, our brains have been naturally wired or trained to conserve our energy. This started happening millions of years ago when human beings hunted for food, competed for partners, and tried to escape predators. Such conservation of energy became one of the “survival instincts.” As a result, even now, our brains are innately attracted to laziness or what we call “sedentary” behaviour. 

So, now, you must feel a little better when you know that there is a scientific reason behind you feeling lazy or not inclined to exercise!

Exercise and Mental Health

Let us now analyze a scenario so that we can understand the connection between exercise and its effects on mental health. At times, your stress levels will be high with all the work or studies you need to complete on a daily basis. Or, you might be stressed out because of a completely different factor, such as a recent fight with a friend or a difference of opinion with a coworker.

Whenever your stress levels are high, the motivation required to move becomes low. And, when you decide not to move, your mood tends to become worse. So, this becomes a vicious cycle. 

On the other hand, when you do a workout or take a fast walk in the park, the feel-good hormones known as endorphins will be secreted. These definitely make you feel happier by giving you a sense of accomplishment after an exercise. The endorphins also bring about a sense of calmness and relaxation.

Cognitive Function and Exercise

Performing workouts or taking up activities like walking, swimming, or jogging has the ability to improve cognitive functioning. There are also a lot of adverse effects of not exercising or being a couch potato. In the long run, this habit may even lead to ailments such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. So, it would be wise for people to spend at least half an hour a day working out. However, they first need to consult their physicians and then take up some sort of regular physical activity. Individuals with diabetes also have the necessity to exercise regularly. 

By now, you would have got an idea about the association between cognitive function and exercise.

Laziness and Exercise

We have seen the scientific reason behind “not feeling like exercising.” But there is a dire necessity to do something about it. You can trick your brain in such a way that it “wants” to exercise! 

“How?” Is that your question? The answer is right here!

Since we all have a natural inclination to be lazy, you just cannot tell yourself that you must exercise more. It is more likely that you won’t! Therefore, your brain needs a certain amount of luring or enticement. The best method to resolve this issue is to make your exercising more like playing. That is, let your workout sessions be more fun. If you can accomplish this, you will possibly exercise more! So, try taking up a favourite sport or start playing games that you enjoyed when you were a kid, like jumping rope. Though it does not sound like a serious exercise regimen, you will still burn calories and have fun at the same time. Otherwise, you can even try pilates or any other similar activity. 

The Bottom Line

It is the beginning that will be challenging. But once you feel the motivation to exercise and start doing it, in a few days, your brain will be trained to send you signals stating that you really need to get out of your bed or couch and start exercising. In a few weeks’ time, you may start thinking about how you lived in the past without exercising!