Attitudes toward Exercise: Are they Weight Relative?

swimIn a January 8, 2014 article in the New York Times, reporter Gretchen Reynolds weighed in on a study which looked at overweight woman vs. lean women and their respective attitudes toward exercise.

Admittedly, the study didn’t use a very big sample–just 13 Chinese women who were obesogenic (overweight) and 13 that were not . It used an MRI scanning practice to test reactions to photos showing activities. You might guess the results. The heavier women reacted more negatively to the movement than the leaner women.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24366575

This makes sense. It’s harder to move when you’ve packed on a few extra. It’s like hauling around ten pound bag of potatoes wrapped around your waist while you pound a treadmill. Having been a daily exerciser whether I’m overweight or not–and anywhere in between–I can attest to the fact it’s more challenging with extra weight. I’ve also seen a tinge of over zealousness from heavier people who jump into a new exercise program when they haven’t been doing any. It’s probably going to hurt and the brain knows this.

And just as a side note, exercise without adjusting food intake means pretty much nothing is going to happen at the scale…except maybe some crying.

But Reynolds summarizes the bottom line well (…did you see how I did that?):

The practical takeaways of the findings are obvious and almost poignant.

“Encourage people to pursue physical activities and exercise that they actually find pleasurable and might enjoy,” said Todd Jackson, a professor of exercise science at Southwest University, who led the study. Hire a kind, nonjudgmental coach or personal trainer to lead you through a manageable exercise routine.

And if you continue to find yourself drawn to the couch instead of the gym, use that inclination strategically “as an incentive or reward for increasing exercise,” Dr. Jackson said. Swim for 45 minutes and then allow yourself to surf the Internet, for instance, he suggests. Don’t fight your brain’s unenthusiastic attitude toward exercise, he said. Embrace it.

We probably didn’t need 26 Chinese women and some researchers to give us that, but hey–every little bit helps. No matter what your size, pursue away, and find your happy place.

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About @jamieweil

Filmmaker and writer currently producing the groundbreaking docuseries "A Crazy Thought," a sharing of hope and help from the voice of a parent and teacher. Working with award-winning female filmmakers to bring about a new conversation in youth mental health. Crowdfunding NOW: www.supportacrazythought.com
This entry was posted in bipolar disorder, body image, conscious living, Exercise, Goals, health, movement and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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