Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why treadmills are better than horror movies

In theory, the point of cardio exercise is to strengthen your heart and improve your ability to oxygenate your cells.  To accomplish this, you have to get your heart rate up.  Lots of things raise heart rates, including the bad guy sneaking up on the blonde in the scary movie, the extra cup of coffee, the ride with your learning-to-drive kid.  We don’t choose those things as cardio exercise for at least one good reason:  no endorphins.

We all have that sense that, yeah, we probably should get out and exercise.  The doctor might make some remarks.  The jeans might be a little tighter than can be plausibly explained by a trip through the dryer.  Obligation and even guilt and shame can be motivators.

But isn’t happiness a better one?

Endorphins make you feel good.  When you get your heart rate up, when you start to breathe more heavily, you begin to tap into your body’s own supply of mood-enhancing chemicals.  Legal high!  Sure, it’s addictive, but unlike many other addictive substances, the cardio endorphin high is actually good for you.

Cardio reduces stress, ameliorates depression, and burns calories, so it has many of the same effects as chocolate without the weight gain and expense.  Go play!  Because it is fun!

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