What Is Exercise Behavior?
Exercise behavior includes the intention to do exercise, attitude towards exercise, duration, and frequency also.
Athletes, sportspeople, and fitness enthusiasts have really good exercise behavior, regularly exercise, and keep fit. Some people are physically very active, exercise regularly, and stay fit. Others have a love and hate relationship with exercise. They may start a training program, stop in between and then start again after a while.
Importance of Regular Exercise
Regular exercise has considerable benefits on both physical and mental health. Research has documented that exercise can not only prevent diseases such as coronary artery disease and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus but also improve sleep, enhance mood and general well-being, improve blood pressure, and decrease mortality. Exercise has also been found to help reduce symptoms of depression.
Even though the benefits of physical activity are very well-known, many people don’t include it in their life, or some may try their hand at physical activity and then stop after a while. Why does this happen?
Exercise behavior is affected by various factors, including genetics, personal behavioral, and environmental factors.
How Does Genetics Influence Exercise Behavior?
Research suggests that the differences in exercise behavior among people are probably inherited. Genes play a role in influencing your fitness, physical activity schedule, and other aspects of exercise behavior. People with certain genetic types may have a better attitude and intention towards exercising compared to others.
The DRD2 Gene
The DRD2 gene carries instructions for the production of a protein called Dopamine Receptor D2. This is the main receptor for all antipsychotic drugs. Dopamine receptors are necessary for neurological signaling to allow dopamine to perform its function. Changes in this gene can affect the amount of receptors produced and influence a number of functions, including exercise behavior.
rs6275 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the DRD2 gene. A study showed that women carrying the T allele of this SNP had lower levels of physical activity.
The CASR Gene
The CASR gene carries instructions for the production of a protein called Calcium Sensing Receptor. This receptor is involved in the monitoring and regulation of calcium levels in the blood. When the level of calcium is adequate, it binds to the receptor and activates it. The activated receptor sends signals to block processes that increase calcium levels. Calcium is necessary for good bone health and contraction of muscles. Changes in this gene can affect levels of physical activity.
rs1801725 is an SNP in the CASR gene. Carriers of the T allele were found to have lower physical activity levels.
The ACE Gene
The ACE gene carries instructions for the production of a protein called Angiotensin Converting Enzyme. This enzyme is involved in blood pressure regulation and the balance of fluids and salts in the body. Since it is important for blood pressure regulation, changes in this gene can affect exercise behavior.
rs1799752 is an SNP in the ACE gene. People with the DD genotype were found to be more sedentary.
Non-Genetic Factors That Affect Exercise Behavior
Apart from genetics, several environmental, personal, and behavioral factors influence exercise behavior and levels of physical activity. These include
Lack of motivation
People may not have enough motivation to continue exercising. They may not enjoy exercising and quit in between. They may get bored of their exercise routine or be confused about what exercises to do and what schedule to follow.
Tiredness and soreness
Exercise may be uncomfortable and result in pain or soreness after. Some people may also be really tired and may not be able to do other things. This can demotivate them to continue exercising. The right type of exercise and duration is important.
Certain health conditions can affect your ability to exercise. You may not be able to do certain types of exercises or start doing physical activity, and this can stop you from trying altogether.
Other factors include financial status, cultural attitude, time commitment, and access to good training programs. Attitude towards physical activity matters.
Some strategies can lead to increases in exercise self-efficacy and control beliefs as well as self-management skills.
- Group fitness programs or exercising with friends or family is a good way to stay motivated to stick to a schedule.
- There is a lot of content available online that caters to people of all fitness levels. There is both free and paid content. This can help you get started and plan your training.
- There are many fitness apps available that help you keep track of how much you’re exercising and keep track of time.
- If you’re just starting, start slow. Don’t do too much too soon. Slowly increase the intensity of exercise as you continue. Set achievable goals.
- Try different types of training and mix up your training program. Variety helps keep you motivated.
- Make sure you get the form right and prevent any injuries. If you feel like you’re burnt out or something is really painful, stop and find out what the problem is. Consult a doctor if necessary.
- Try to make time to exercise at least a few times a week. It is definitely worth it.
- You can even try walking or running to stay active when you don’t want to exercise.
- Record your progress to keep yourself motivated.
- Rest days are also very important. Your body needs time to heal.
- Exercise behavior includes the intention to do exercise, attitude towards exercise, duration, and frequency.
- Regular exercise has considerable benefits on both physical and mental health.
- Genetics is one of the factors that affect exercise behavior. Women with the T allele of SNP rs6275 in the DRD2 gene are found to have lower levels of physical activity.
- People with the DD genotype of SNP rs1799752 in the ACE gene were found to be more sedentary.
- Apart from genetics, several environmental, personal, and behavioral factors influence exercise behavior and levels of physical activity.
- Staying active has various benefits and can help you lead a healthy lifestyle. Plan a schedule, find workout buddies, start slow, and take rest days.