I never gave much credence to the traditional parental refrain, “if you try it, you’ll like it.” I always seemed to have a good idea what I liked ahead of time (or maybe I have a lot of cognitive dissonance). But, this intriguing health piece about exercise in the New York Times suggests that parents have had it right all along, at least when it comes to exercise. The article details experiments that show individuals have different innate neural expressions in the brain that affect how interested they are in exercising. To me, the most interesting part was that even individuals who did not have a neural structure that would reward their interest in exercise began developing more mature neurons to provide them with the positive mental reward for the activity. Maybe this is part of the reason everyone says you have to develop a habit of exercise, and that once you hit that mark, you’ll be able to pick it up more easily.
I passed this information along to my lovely running partner who remarked that she had been excused for 2.5 decades of laziness. But, not anymore. If you give exercise a shot, your body will not only adapt to the physical requirements, but may also give you increased emotional rewards to keep you going strong. I’d read a few other articles that suggested the changes in your brain from exercise help stave off Alzheimer’s. Awesome.