Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exercise Aversion: An Issue I want to explore

This is a bit scientifically off, but is a meme making the rounds, I suppose it is to convince people to exercise so they won't be fat and their fat will melt away or said here CRY AWAY. Some of you may remember the saying of the 1980's "NO PAIN NO GAIN!"

I have been having this thought about exercise. When I was young and even had THINNER years, and I am thinking of when I wore a woman's size 12 around the age of 12-13, I remember exercise still being hard on me. The gym teachers would say run a few laps, every  kid encounters the gym class, and the feelings of nausea and heart pounding that would hit me, still trouble me to this day. I wasn't that overweight then, I did a paper route that required at least 2 miles of bike riding up some hills, daily. But why did aerobic exercise make me feel like I was going to die? Why did it bring out panic attacks? Those could have been physiologically caused especially given the breathing problems I had by age 20 but it is something I remember. I wonder how long I was an untreated asthmatic.

The only exercise I could adapt too, was walking.  In high school I had gym class too, and there exercise made me feel horrible. One thing I was an active kid,. I hated to be still, I wanted to do things so why did exercise bother me so. Why was it so hard? Why did I feel like I was going to die? Why did the sweat make me feel sick? I would gain weight mid highschool and probably was in the overweight and not obese category by early high school but this is something I think about. One year I joined the golf team and noticed while the 18 hole walk-abouts tired me out a bit--I liked walking but noticed others seemed far more able to do things easier. They didn't get as tired and some outweighed me!

Gym teachers actually gave me high grades. I never had below a B in gym. Ok maybe no one flunks gym.  Believe it or not! They could tell I was trying. Some were concerned when they would ask the class to go run laps and they would see how ill I would get.

Why does exercise seem to be doable for some people and not for others? What would you think of my theory that exercise feels DIFFERENT for different people and well exercise aversion is a serious problem out there. What is happening to people? In my case, I tried all that bike riding, walking for miles, active jobs, even living without a car--due to poverty that required long walks to bus stops and I still got fat.

How does one overcome this exercise aversion? You know if they are serious about helping people from getting too fat and wanting them to be healthy. This is an issue that needs dealt with. I do the walking and arm/leg exercises, and I have to admit I find some of the walking pleasurable if I am having a pain-free lung happy day, but exercise in general nope! My heart rate goes up somewhat from doing this stuff, but it is not to the areobic level. One thing I am facing is that when I do a lot of walking and other "exercise", I bloat up like crazy, not sure how to deal with that. The doctors don't have an answer except more water pills and going to rest.

Some questions I have.....

Why do some people hate exercise and some people love it?

Are different bodies reacting differently to it? Are some of us not geared for it? Could this be a problem that goes along with the other metabolic and endocrine things that can even lead to obesity itself?

Why did exercise make me so ill at a young age? [it went beyond the affects of asthma, I remember getting dizzy, clammy, and the rest]

Why do some people hate to sweat?

Is it just laziness or couch-potato-itist or is something more going on?

I wonder too about movement and activity being more natural and fun years ago, and conscripted movements just not doing it for people.

I've had other young people tell me this has happened to them, that exercise made them feel bad.

What are the possibilities in changing this so exercise becomes something that is ENJOYED?

Tell me what you think, I am thinking off the top of my head here.


  1. I was the same way in school, I participated in gym, if I wasn't able to say run laps I at least walked them. Even in middle school during our lunch break I played kickball everyday when we could have just sat and talked in the bleachers.

  2. That's how I was, I walked them. Kickball I could handle too and even remember playing that with friends for "fun" and that included 4 square. I'm not sure if kids play 4 square anymore but it was one of my favorite games along with hide and go seek.