Can you Train Your Brain to Look Forward to Exercise?

habits and motivation

The best way to implement a habit is to train your brain.

habits and motivation

I’m sure if you are reading this and have internet access, you are familiar with how forming habits can help us be more productive in our everyday lives. You train your brain to wake up at a certain time every day, and thus you can also train your brain to crave exercise. If you are serious about a fitness regimen, or really need to get your act together, developing a habit is the best way to create real results.

The mesolimbic dopamine system is basically our reward center in the body, and it can be used to train the brain to relate exercise with pleasure, since fitness elevates your mood and releases endorphins. Regular exercise also increases neurotransmitters to reduce anxiety and increase satisfaction, which is why you generally feel good most of the time when you are on a fitness regimen.

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Cardiovascular exercises like running, swimming, or cycling release more endorphins, so they are the easiest ways to create a habit. The trick is to find a workout you enjoy, and start doing it regularly, choosing a consistent time every day and sticking to it. You can add some friends and workout buddies into the mix to make things more fun, but the key is to stick to that particular time, and never let anything stop you from going. Eventually the body’s natural circadian rhythms will respond to the regular exercise, and create a habit. Then, when you don’t hit the gym your body will start to crave it, and actually desire the exercise, which will help you reach your goals.

As with anything else, be a little cautious and listen to your body. Creating a habit is different from creating an addiction, and an addiction could lead to harmful side effects or injury.

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Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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