- Brains’ reactions to exercise could be 50 per cent determined by genetics
- Some people are ‘benign masochists’ and enjoy the pain of exercise
- Others have a low threshold and could be tired out by cooking a meal
By Emily Davies
PUBLISHED: 12:04 EST, 30 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:06 EST, 30 March 2013
If you dread exercising and feel lousy after a physical work out, it might not be because you are lazy, new research has suggested.
While some people experience euphoria from endorphins after exercise, others will find their moods plummet due to their psycho-biological ‘inner voice’, scientists claim.
The physical effects of exercising such as puffing an panting, sweating and pain can trigger varying responses in the brain depending on the person.
Our responses to exercise may be genetic, according to research by Associate Professor Panteleimon Ekkekakis of Iowa State University
Associate Professor Panteleimon Ekkekakis, an exercise psychologist at Iowa State University carried out an experiment where people’s moods were tested when they exercised.
He found that people’s tolerance to the pain factors caused by exercise could be up to 50 per cent genetic.
Participants were made to exercise until they were out of breath and reached a point known as their ‘ventilatory threshold’.
Some participants enjoyed the experience the harder they worked, while others found their mood dropped and they gave up on the workout early.
Elite athletes were described as ‘benign masochists’ by researchers because they appear to enjoy the pain of exertion.
The research showed that some people’s physical capacity is much lower than they realise so even low-impact tasks like cooking dinner could be enough to tire them out.
Our response to the physical effects of exercise could be up to 50 per cent genetic, according to research done by Dr Ekkekakis
Dr Ekkekakis said: ‘As soon as they get up and take a few steps they are above their threshold. People do things that make them feel better and avoid things that make them feel worse. So they stop.’
But the research found that by using tricks such as listening to music, people can continue to feel good even slightly past their ventilatory threshold.
Research done at the University of Essex found that exercising when surrounded by green natural scenes, as opposed to red, or black and white surroundings influenced people’s sense of how hard they were working.
As people approach their maximum capacity, however, a negative reaction is unavoidable.
For most people this occurs when their bodies are exerted to 60 per cent of the maximum capacity their body can cope with.
For elite athletes they may be able to work at 80 per cent capacity before reaching their ‘ventilatory threshould’, while sedentary people would reach a barrier at just 35 per cent