Are you one of those people who come out of an exercise class or a gym session buzzing with an endorphin high and sporting a self-satisfied grin? Or do you find it all unpleasant and unrewarding? If so, it might be to do with your genes.
A recent twin study from VU University in Amsterdam has found that there is something called an ‘affective response to exercise’. While exercising, participants rated how they were feeling on a scale from very bad to very good, how much they felt they were exerting themselves, and how much they were feeling various states, such as energetic, lively, jittery or tense. From these measures, the researchers established the participants’ affective response to exercise. By looking to see if affective response to exercise was more similar between identical twins than non-identical twins, the researchers were able to deduce how much it is genetically inherited – and it was found to be a significant correlation.
Of course, it’s possible that doing more exercise can change how we experience exercise. Yet whether we experience exercise as pleasant or unpleasant is to a significant degree influenced by our genes. Perhaps most interesting (for me, anyway) is the practical implications that this could have for interventions to help people exercise more. If you’re someone who is genetically inclined to find exercise less enjoyable and gratifying, you might benefit from personalised exercise programmes that aim to reduce its laboriousness and make it as rewarding as possible.
Since I've known her (which has been over 12 years), my friend Sarah has wanted a particular watch - vintage, distinctive, expensive. But she has never bought it, claiming that there are lots of other things that deserve her money first. Sarah has a great job, no dependents, regularly gives to charity, and is generous with her time and attention for friends and family. Yet she still won't buy this watch.
It got me thinking about needs, wants and how delaying gratification can sometimes go a bit far. Whilst this watch won't bring everlasting happiness, it will probably give Sarah a mini jolt of gratification whenever she checks the time.
Living in the moment, literally, and reason enough to buy it now, surely! So perhaps, rather than always doing the sensible thing, it can be liberating and healthy to do something you (not necessarily others) might consider frivolous, and bring a little jolt of satisfaction to your well-being.
(By the way, there will be no blog next week.)
What’s the most valuable thing you have ever owned?
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, our bodies will always be the most valuable thing in our lives. Imagine if you had to try and piece your own body together, sourcing and paying for each part! It would be astronomically expensive… Without getting into the ethics and possibilities of such a notion, the crux of this blog is (no surprises!) about looking after your body – as it is the most valuable thing you will ever own.
So what is it worth to you? Not monetary, as that’s too tricky to calculate. But in other terms, like reliability or function. If a part of it broke down, how would that ‘cost’ you?
And what are you doing to ensure that your body retains its value to you?
It’s been said so many times before, by me and countless others: look after your body with good food, sleep, exercise, rest, relaxation and fun to help it stick around for as long as you need it.
Have you ever noticed what happens to your voice when you become agitated or upset? For many people, it tends to get a bit high, a bit louder and even a bit screechy. If you notice this happening to you, how about trying to lower the tone? Consciously try to bring your voice back down a few notches, to a normal level – or even lower than a normal level. It’s a trick that some people use to feel more in control, and it can work really well when things are getting a bit heated. It’s something that I use in my assertive/confidence training course: practising when you are in an ordinary situation first can really help so that when you find yourself in a tricky situation, you can employ your well-rehearsed lower tone and see what magic ensues. By the way, a deep breath beforehand also works wonders. How could you lower the tone this week and release your inner Barry?!
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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Clean Well-being blog