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Thread: No "reward" system for physical exercise?

  1. #1 No "reward" system for physical exercise? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    The saying "No pain no gain" isnt there without a reason. Weightlifting is painfull and hard and one wouldnt really do it unless it is forced on you (Intelligent motivations aside like trying to attract the opposite gender etc). The same goes for running. I was just out jogging + sprinting and as im typing this i feel sick to my gut after the hard exercise and im concentrating hard at the moment not to throw up.

    Why dont we humans or animals have any reward systems for physical workout? Its healthy in all aspects but is preferably avoided.

    There are sayings that "resistance make you stronger" but this would only seem to count for "forced" resistance. Noone goes through needless pain for fun.

    Is pain actually a protective barrier so to speak - so lifeforms dont kill themselves out of exhaustion? Why isnt there any rewards, only pain - for doing things that are actually beneficial for us?


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  3. #2 Re: No "reward" system for physical exercise? 
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Why dont we humans or animals have any reward systems for physical workout?
    They do. They're called endorphins.


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  4. #3  
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    Our bodies are amazing and dynamic tools, and they adapt to whatever they are used for. If you do rough work with your hands, your skin gets tougher in order to adapt and to protect itself. If you use your brain and learn information, then your brain becomes more capable of learning more information. Whatever part of your body that you develop will adapt itself to its task.

    Exercise is no exception, and is one of the most observable applications of this rule. If you use your muscles they get stronger. If you develop your heart and lungs they get more efficient.

    The pain you are describing is more from trying to do too much too fast, than a negative response to trying to develop your body. The positive function of pain, is to let you know when you are pushing your body beyond the healthy gradual pace it is able to adapt to.

    Just a small example here. When I was young I worked in construction. When I started I was weak and undeveloped, and my brothers were much stronger than I was. After a year or two I was stronger than both of them put together. This change happened gradually and I was not even aware of it. This is an example of the body adapting gradually at a healthy pace without a pain response.

    I hope this was helpful.
    Berncly-
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berncly
    Our bodies are amazing and dynamic tools, and they adapt to whatever they are used for. If you do rough work with your hands, your skin gets tougher in order to adapt and to protect itself. If you use your brain and learn information, then your brain becomes more capable of learning more information. Whatever part of your body that you develop will adapt itself to its task.

    Exercise is no exception, and is one of the most observable applications of this rule. If you use your muscles they get stronger. If you develop your heart and lungs they get more efficient.

    The pain you are describing is more from trying to do too much too fast, than a negative response to trying to develop your body. The positive function of pain, is to let you know when you are pushing your body beyond the healthy gradual pace it is able to adapt to.

    Just a small example here. When I was young I worked in construction. When I started I was weak and undeveloped, and my brothers were much stronger than I was. After a year or two I was stronger than both of them put together. This change happened gradually and I was not even aware of it. This is an example of the body adapting gradually at a healthy pace without a pain response.

    I hope this was helpful.
    Berncly-
    It was, thanks.

    So Endorphines arent released in to big doses, and pain is there to protect - both to a degree that keeps this constant change healthy. I guess bigger reward systems would make people too addicted to physical exercise like a drug like "runners high".
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  6. #5  
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    If we enjoyed exercise more than we do, then we would be constantly burning calories, using up our fat reserves, and building up muscle mass, which burns even more calories. This is a great thing in times of plenty, not so good when food is scarce.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Harold has it correct.

    We have evolved a distaste for exercise. In the "good old days" of tribal hunter/gatherers this would not have been a problem, since just getting enough to eat forced humans in that situation to work hard. Since food was often short, though, spending more energy than needed just to gather food was a disadvantage and could lead to starvation. Thus humans evolved a distaste for exercise, and pain from too much exercise.

    Of course, in today's world, in the wealthy west, the reverse now holds. However, too little time has passed to permit evolution in the opposite direction.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman Matthijs's Avatar
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    Maybe a nice addition to the replies above;
    In anorexia nervosa, exercising is addicting! This means that the reward system (probably the nucleus accumbens) is active in this disorder (if it is psychological of physiological remains to be determined; maybe a combination?).
    This fact holds together with what was said above, that "we evolved a distaste" for it. However it has a bit more to it. In the days of hunter-gatherers food was not readily available all the time, it meant that they had to go out into the forest (or where they lived) to get some, in short: they had to "exercise" to get the calories they needed. So when people are hungry (when the body senses it's energy supplies are being drained) they will get active, the exact same symptom what you see in anorexia nervosa patients (hyperactivity). Today we have plenty of food in western societies and this coincides with the lack of activity during the day. This is also, in evolutionary sense, "rewarding". When enough energy is stored throughout the body, it is much wiser to be inactive, holding on to the energy supplies until it is needed in case of food deprivation, perhaps during the winter season.
    So a rewarding system for exercise does exist, but it is only rewarding under certain environmental conditions.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Sophomore LunchBox's Avatar
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    To elaborate a bit on inow's response, certain types of workouts release endorphins, which make you feel good...like sex (which can also be a good workout).

    When I was bodybuilding, I would leave the gym feeling fantastic, and energized, and clear-headed. Some of this was from personal goal setting, and some from visible results. Besides that, the endorphin rush was a pleasant feeling as well. Certain types of exercize don't agree with everyone...for me, running is a painful, nasty venture, yet I love mountain biking.

    There are also psychological rewards too. I enjoy the fact that I can (still) lift heavy objects around the farm. Right now, I'm building steel pipe fence, and have removed sections in concrete...and can manipulate them physically. This is its own reward...at least for me...that I don't have to get a friend to help, or hire someone.
    "Let your anger be as a monkey in a pinata, hiding with the candy, hoping the children do not break through with a stick."

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." *Einstein
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