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Saturday, September 10, 2016

thinking about exercise


A research study in 2015 concluded that someone like me who likes thinking a lot should think more about maybe getting off her butt.

The paper said,
"The overall findings showed that low-need-for-cognition [NFC] individuals were more physically active…"

NFC is defined as a tendency to
"engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive endeavors."
--"The physical sacrifice of thinking: Investigating the relationship between thinking and physical activity in everyday life", Journal of Health Psychology, January 2015.

I like this phrase, need for cognition, because it separates liking to think from being good at thinking (as liking to exercise is separate from athletic skill);
the paper says that studying NFC "allows researchers to study thinking without placing demands on cognitive resources."  

"Cognitive resources"--what a handy phrase!
"The debate showed that the candidate's cognitive resources are a little low..." 

Furthermore, NFC is an "intrinsic motivation", they say, that remains the same across a lifetime.

This matches me--I've written recently that I prefer sitting around (thinking, and losing physical strength) over doing physical things, such as home repairs, much less actually going to the gym.

Even activities such as fidgeting, walking to the bathroom, etc. expend energy and "help avoid fat storage".
"In conclusion, it seems noteworthy to point out that if this association between physical activity and cognition leads to health issues such as obesity, it may be prudent for more thoughtful individuals to consider lifestyle changes as countermeasures to the negative health outcomes associated with their lower activity levels."

So, yeah. That's all me. 
And there's the matter of emotion, too. I'm lucky that I don't suffer from serious depression, but if I'm feeling low, I don't care about exercising.

It shocks me to look at these photos of me at the YW literally the month before my mother killed herself in 2002. I was forty-one. (It's weird I even have these because you don't usually take photos at the gym, so I'm glad I do.)

It wasn't just her suicide that knocked me off exercising, it was a whole bunch of other things too. But it sure didn't help.


 Luckily I'm not feeling depressed now, so I'm off the YW this morning again---an intro yoga class. 
Level: "slow".
Uh-huh. 
Even "slow" is too fast for me right now.
I'm sore from the old-person's aerobics class yesterday. Really, it's for people 50+,  and it was too much! I stood in the corner and shuffled to disco songs I used to dance to half the night. Only a few times, but for real, I did. Came home soaked in sweat and cigarette smoke. It was so much fun!

So... it's boring to exercise for health only, because I'm supposed to. It'd be nice if, when I get my strength back, I could find something fun to DO. 
Meanwhile since I enjoy "effortful cognitive endeavors", maybe blogging about exercise will help keep me motivated:
"If I go exercise, I'll get to think about how to write about it!" 

2 comments:

Bink said...

Wow! You were so fit! You're equally cute now--but buff back then.

Fresca said...

Yeah, thanks: I'm not aiming to lift that much weight (not sure that'd even wise, with arthritis etc.), but it's an inspiring reminder to look at this!