Is Exercise Supposed To Be Fun?

Exercise is not supposed to be fun.  If it is, then you should suspect that something is wrong.

That quote is from an essay by Ken Hutchins posted at the Efficient Exercise website.

When I was a young man in my 30s, I was jogging 20 miles a week and ran a couple marathons (26.2 miles).  I enjoyed it and didn’t do much else for exercise or overall fitness. I thought I was in pretty good shape.  You can get away with that when you’re 35, but not when you’re 50.  At 57 now, I can’t think of any single recreational activity that can help me maintain the overall strength, functionality, and injury resistance I want and need as I age. 

I’ve come to view exercise as a chore, like flossing/brushing teeth, changing the oil in my car, and sleeping when I’d rather not.  I’ve got my current exercise chore whittled down to an hour three times a week.  OK, sometimes just twice a week.

Skyler Tanner takes a thoughtful and in-depth look at the exercise versus recreation dichotomy at his blog.  If you have comments, more people will see them at his site than here.

Steve Parker, M.D.



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6 responses to “Is Exercise Supposed To Be Fun?

  1. We have a major tragedy on the type 2 diabetes and all the esoteric searches for cure while missing the obvious.

    Fisrt off, any medical issues – liver leaks , organ miscues that result in excess glucose generation need to be stopped. Otherwise, storage sites get filled up and insulin resistance sets in and the mess of adding excess insulin/actos begins and destroys the body.

    That is key critical as the regulation system peddled by most as a insulin push system rather than a glucose draw system as described by Cell physiology completely ignore the role of insulin resistance that cell physiology clearly suggest that as skeletal musscle cells , fat cells and the liver/kineys fill up with excess glucose; insulin resistance sets in to protect the cells against injury/destruction due to incursion of too much glucose.

    The BG glucose regulation depends upon always having room to store glucose elsewhere when insulin released. Only energy, exercise , process burn get rid of glucose building up in cells local storage.. Insulin does not.

    Energy balance in the past of the hunter gatherer gene digestion system was guaranteed by the scaricty of food, scrawny game and wild berries and periods of starvation and brown out of the food suply due to season,, overhunting, disease etc.

    Today’s 24/7 grains, corn, rice supply put the hunter gatherer gene digestion system at risk as it was optimized to be the most efficient at grabbing every possible calorie and storing it. The concept of a gut hobbling bypass to pass through excess calories when all local stores topped off was not done. The Hunter Gatherr system was designed to bump along the bottom of calorie supply and protest against shortages.

    Today it is critical in today’s 24/7 bounty of food/energy supply , that the human patient must ensure energy balance and guard against too many carbs/calories at all times. Cars Control and hearty exercise are critical for this to happen.

    This is not an option. Cars, laptops, video games, computers, wide screen TV have seen a massive drop in ergery burn on couch potato tools and games and entertainment.

    Thank you for another excellent artcle and comment.

  2. Hey, Jim. A recent study suggests that decreased work-related energy expenditure is a major cause of obesity in the U.S. over the last 60 years. It seems intuitive that electric toothbrushes and TV remote controls, etc., would play a major role, but I haven’t found any studies documenting that. And it’s been studied at least over the last 30 years.

    Here’s my post on the work-related energy decrease:

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  4. js290

    Ken Hutchins and Skyler Tanner are definitely from the HIT camp to which I subscribe. I definitely dread each of my HIT workouts which I do once every other week. The workout itself doesn’t last very long, but it’s quite brutal mentally. Physically it’s very hard work, but also very safe. Body by Science by Doug McGuff, MD and John Little does a good job of explaining the principles behind HIT. Metabolically, it boils down to dumping out the glycogen stored in our muscles in the safest and most time efficient way possible.

  5. I’ll have to get McGuff’s book. When I first heard of it second-hand, I was skeptical because it seemed so anti-cardio (aerobic excercise) . From age 20 to 40 I was jogging 20 miles a week, so I was invested in cardio. Steven Blair’s research linking longevity with exercise(and fitness) typically didn’t breakdown exercise into strength versus cardio, and he tended to test fitness via maximal treadmill exercise testing. Chronic sustained cardio exercisers might do better on the treadmill. I’m still sorting this out in my mind. I feel very good, however, about not doing the sustained cardio at this point in my life.

    • Dr. Parker,

      Here’s the video of Dr. McGuff talking about “cardio” in terms of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. Basically, the byproducts of anaerobic metabolism drives aerobic metabolism.