Another excuse not to exercise bites the dust. Gretchen Reynolds raises a hopeful question in her latest Phys Ed column for The New York Times: Might exercise be so unpleasant for some people that the negative feelings it engenders in them cancel out all the emotional benefits, the reduction in anxiety and stress?
It takes quite a few paragraphs of reading through an interesting experiment with rats forced to run in treadmills to get to the answer, so here’s a short cut: No. If these rats are any indication, exercise is still good for you even if you hate it. Gretchen writes:
…The animals that had exercised on the running wheels, whether they could control their exercise regimens or not, proved to be quite resilient. They bounced back emotionally from the imposed stresses and were willing to explore the lighted regions of their new surroundings on the next day.
They were, by rodent standards, happy and well-adjusted guys.
What this suggests, says Benjamin Greenwood, a professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado who designed and led the study, is that “even forced exercise increases stress resistance.”
Or in the immortal words of the goddess Nike, “Just do it.”