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Surprised reading the headline? Well, if you are one of those people who find it difficult to get off the couch and head to the gym or go for a stroll to remain fit; know that it is your brain that is stopping you from doing so. Yes, you read it right. Your brain tricks you to become a couch potato. This is why when you have to choose between doing a physical activity and nothing; you ultimately end up choosing the latter even though you have a strong desire to go with the former. This is because the brain needs more efforts than you think to break from the inertia and get into the zone of activity. Previous studies have also stated that there is a gap between the intention to play sport and actually playing it among many individuals. A new study published in the journal Neuropsychologia also confirmed the fact that there needs a lot of effort to train the brain to get into the zone of physical activity and get out of the couch potato phase. A reason for this as cited by the scientists is our ancestors had to avoid 'unnecessary' physical activity to increase chances of survival.
Even after years of evolution out brain behaves in that particular manner and thinks a leisurely physical activity is unnecessary. Our brain doesn't realise that unlike our ancestors we are not putting in enough effort into our day-to-day chores to keep ourselves fit, burn calories and be healthy. This is one reason we choose to live a sedentary life even though we have a strong desire to get fit and hit the gym. A research team headed by Boris Cheval (a researcher at NCCR LIVES at the Faculty of Medicine at UNIGE and HUG), and Matthieu Boisgontier (a researcher at Leuven University, Belgium, and University of British Columbia, Canada), studied the neuronal activity of 29 people, all of whom wanted to be active in their daily lives without necessarily putting in the required effort. The participants had to choose between physical activity and inactivity while the researchers probed their brain activity using an electroencephalograph equipped with 64 electrodes. The researchers concluded that the brain had the capacity to opt for minimalizing efforts which means the brain has to use much more resources to move away from sedentary behaviour.
If you are unable to exercise blame it on your brain. But remember you have to put in efforts to get out of the zone as there is a constant struggle between the desire to exercise and do nothing in your brain. You have to train your brain accordingly to get over it. The easy accessibility and overuse of technology are also making us lazy and pushing us towards a sedentary lifestyle. So, if you want to get fit and live longer, train your brain to get active before you train to bulk up at the weight plates.
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