There is an article in the New York Times titled Why Exercise Makes Us Feel Good.” But one of the comments to it stood out even more. It was #9 from Ellen T in NYC who writes, “I hate exercise. I’ve been doing it intensively for over a year and I still hate it, dread it, loathe it. I like having done it but I hate doing it. I also think I feel pretty much the same, except that I’ve lost some weight (diet, NOT exercise) and feel pretty good about that. I think that there is a spectrum of people, from those that genetically love exercise, probably did a lot of it as children and kept their muscle memory and whatever else exercise did for them, and those that do not. We can force ourselves, but I have no metabolic or psychological benefits that I can detect. My HDL’s refuse to budge. Go figure.”

I can relate to this woman. I don’t hate exercising. And I love playing tennis. I could do that almost every day if I had time and good weather. But exercising muscles to build them up or change my weight (increase it in my case) is a herculean effort. It does not come easy. I start…and then I wane. I don’t feel an addictive drug (dopamine?) taking over my brain that is such a high I can’t live without it every day. I am not horribly irritable and anxious if I don’t exercise, although I definitely feel mellower and more proud of myself when I do it and see the muscle cuts.

The best rationalization is that it is in one’s DNA or early childhood conditioning. I believe it can be trained into you a bit, like good posture. But it is so hard to instill if it isn’t there already. That is why some guys are jocks and others are geeks. For a while I crossed over from the non-active class to the gym goer species. I really loved it. Then I discovered tennis, and it has become my passion. After time on the court, I am either too tired or out of time for weights and push ups. I keep wanting to do those exercises. But it is not quite possible for me to manage with any regularity. I still do have to work.

Nevertheless I will keep trying, fantasizing…though it may always be an uphill challenge. Much much harder than practicing hitting the tennis ball correctly for more spin and power. Maybe overcoming this hurdle will be more satisfying than playing better tennis. I should look at this web site often and be inspired by all the athletes who achieve their goals…or make seemingly superhuman efforts. I do like challenges…

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