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tinyfaery's avatar

Other than physically, is exercise equally beneficial for all people?

Asked by tinyfaery (40900points) October 8th, 2010

People talk so much about the psychological benefits of exercise and how once you get into it your mood, sleep, and attitude change for the better. People even say once they exercise on a regular basis they feel awful if they don’t exercise.

My issue with this is twofold: 1. Human beings are varied. For every human that has a certain experience there is another who does not have that same experience. Not everyone can see certain colors, so why would everyone’s body react so positively (other than physically) to exercise? 2. Personal experience. I have started and stopped exercising so many times I cannot even come up with a number. I usually go a month to six weeks before I stop. The thing is, I never get that high everyone talks about. I never feel like I have more energy, my sleep does not improve and I certainly do not feel bad if I skip the exercise.

So, am I not giving it enough time? Am I doing the wrong exercise? Why don’t I get the benefits everyone talks about? Can it be that not all people will get the added benefits of exercise people seem to think applies to everyone?

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15 Answers

Trillian's avatar

I felt that high one time after I had been running steadily for about 45 minutes. It was incredible and washed over me in a wave that was close to sexual. That is the closest feeling to which I can relate it.
So I know it can be done, I just never ran that long ever again.
I have some problem with the concept of “equal”, because as you say, not everyone is the same. Some people are in too much pain to do certain exercises, some people get off on it and go out of their way toget a run in or something.
You may need a person to whom you have to be accountable.
I’ve heard that to break a bad habit like smoking, it takes 21 days. You may need a bit longer than that. You may just need someone who will force you into a little bit f running or zumba for twenty minutes three days a week for several months.
I’d say you are beating yourself up unnecessarily.
And then, you may never get to that place. Meh…. that’s ok too.

nikipedia's avatar

I think you raise a great point—the benefits probably do change from person to person. My roommate was a distance runner throughout high school and has trained for and finished three marathons. She says she has never once gotten the fabled “runner’s high.”

I think the psychological benefits of exercise are subtle, and they probably do take more than a month to six weeks. I just looked back through my logs and it seems like I didn’t notice it until five or six months into running 3–4x/week. When I was running every day, it was even more noticeable.

Seems worth it to stick with it, to me. No real harm, lots of potential benefits.

marinelife's avatar

The physical benefits of exercise are enormous. Not everyone enjoys it equally. For those who don’t get the high, you need to “just do it”. Try to make that easier by finding an exercise that you like or at least don’t mind.

Have you tried yoga? It has a wonderful high.

bob_'s avatar

It’s not only that our bodies are different, but there are also many other factors that affect the mood.

It could be that you’re doing the “wrong” exercise. When I first joined my gym, I did cardio on a treadmill and an elliptical. I didn’t feel a strong “high”, but it was okay. Then I started doing spinning, and man oh man, that got me going. Forty pounds later, I still feel at my highest when I’m pedalling to the music.

I’d suggest you try other routines to see if there’s something you like better, and as others have said, do exercise even if it’s “only” for the physical benefits.

BoBo1946's avatar

I start and stop like everyone else, but the benefits are too great to completely stop. Things get in my way, like watching my weigh, i mess up. To err is human! But, I keep on. Even with my hip pain, I walk as far i can almost everyday. I’ve a neighbor that walks with me. We are very talkative and before I know it, it is over! The best part is when I come in the house and sit down….my hip hurts so bad, but I’ve got to keep going.

@tinyfaery you are correct, as humans are different, but everyone need some kind of exercise for health purposes. I’ve a neighbor that like to ride a bike. He rides for 45 minutes most every morning. I’ve a good friend that does swimming exercises because he has a bad back. I’ve a relative that go to dance classes….great exercise. There so many ways to get it done, you just have to find one that fits you.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Maybe you do need to give it more time. I don’t like to miss a day of exercise.have felt that high many times before.It is very nice,but not why I do it.:)

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t think ‘formal’ exercise, such as weight lifting or working out is necessary to have good health. Walking a mile or more every day will benefit just as well, as will doing a full days work that involves moving about.

The amount of exercise needed is different for everyone, just like sleep, but a for a longer, healthier life, exercise is a necessary ingredient.

Austinlad's avatar

I used to run 5–6 days a week, and even though I usually dreaded having to do it, I always felt so damned good afterwards.

Cruiser's avatar

When I swim at first it hurts and burns in my all my muscles and then “exactly” on the 14th length the pain thankfully disappears and I can swim another 30+ lengths…but the real fun is after when I feel all the endorphins that have kicked in and I am high as a kite…..Wooo Hooo!

tranquilsea's avatar

When I run I find that, once I pass this wall, I could run forever. I run in a gimpy way right now because I am suffering from compartment syndrome though.

Medically: it lowers my blood pressure, makes my period lighter and elevates my mood.

When I was a teenager I ran a ton and didn’t feel any benefits from it.

mattbrowne's avatar

Depends on the amount of exercise and type of the exercise. There’s a healthy optimum for healthy people. Professional athletes do have less benefits long term compared to people in the healthy optimum.

Depending on the illness there are better or worse kinds of sport. An extreme example is obesity. One of the few beneficial exercises have to be carried out in a indoor or outdoor swimming pool. Obese people should not hike up steep mountains for example.

tinyfaery's avatar

Who said anything about obesity. I could stand to lose 15lbs.

Funny how few people actually answered the question.

tranquilsea's avatar

@tinyfaery I can only answer the question based on what I know. That happens to be how exercise effects me. I don’t know how it effects other people but I suspect that there would be common outcomes.

mattbrowne's avatar

@tinyfaery – Obese people are a subset of all people. The question was about all people, wasn’t it?

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