Zorro shares a report from Study Finds: […] A new study shows we may just have to chalk it up to our brains simply being hardwired to prefer hanging on the couch instead of the chin-up bar. Researchers from the University of British Columbia and University of Geneva sought to better understand the brain chemistry behind what they refer to as the “exercise paradox.” This happens when people pledge to engage in regular physical fitness, but instead find themselves becoming less active. “Conserving energy has been essential for humans’ survival, as it allowed us to be more efficient in searching for food and shelter, competing for sexual partners, and avoiding predators,” explains Matthew Boisgontier, a postdoctoral researcher in UBC’s brain behavior lab at the department of physical therapy, and senior author of the study, in a UBC release.
So Boisgontier and his co-authors recruited 29 young adults who wanted to improve the level of exercise in their lives to take part in a computerized test. The test required them to move a human figure on the screen either towards images of physical activities or away from images of sedentary activities that would randomly appear, and then again vice versa. Participants were hooked up to an electroencephalograph to monitor their brain activity during the exercise. The results showed that participants tended to move towards the active images or away from the sedentary ones at the fastest rates. “We found that participants took 32 milliseconds less to move away from the sedentary image, which is considerable for a task like this,” says study co-author Boris Cheval, of the University of Geneva, in a university release, adding that this finding went against the so-called exercise paradox.
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