Straining Credulity

Many yonks ago, when I was at school, I first encountered the idea that I didn’t like exercise because I didn’t do enough of it. At the time, it seemed a little odd; however, I kept meeting the idea as I continued through life and—being older—found it now paired with explanations of endorphins and pleasure pathways. Which made it seem reasonable and yet still inaccessible.

I was not without understanding of the health benefits of exercise and so, believing I had not yet found the thing I enjoyed, I tried various kinds but found nothing stuck because I never started really enjoying it. I enjoyed having done it (a subtly different thing) but I never felt the sadness of not having done it yet in the way I did for some other things. And so, in the way of things that are neither swift nor joyous, it slipped away too easily when I was not at my best and didn’t return as easily when I recovered.

However, a few years ago, I had the idea of getting a cross-trainer. And, whether it was being able to watch something on my laptop or the extra impact of the pandemic, I found I continued; when I was ill, I stopped, but when I wasn’t I started again. And, when the effort of pairing my headphones with the laptop and moving a pile of things into the spare room and out again afterward started to irk, I stopped watching things but continued cross-training.

The sting is that I still don’t enjoy it. It’s willpower driven by the thought that it is benefiting me in ways that are too small to notice happening.

A little while ago, I discovered an acquaintance has the same experience; except they’ve been maintaining exercise for decades without starting to like it. Which just goes to show, we are all a little different, and brings me to my question:

Why are there always articles about ways for introverts to leave their comfort zone and talk to strangers, and never articles about ways for extroverts to be content and leave strangers alone?

5 thoughts on “Straining Credulity

  1. Exercise = pain, no-exercise = guilt, is there a winning combo in there somewhere?
    About the only times when exercise = fun, for me, was racquet ball / tennis — but one needs a willing, ‘dedicated’ partner for those. Biking used to be enjoyable, but only because I used it as optional transportation and therefore justified hopping on — got to get to work… (except when it rained )
    I don’t know any extroverts – I wonder why that is? – so I can’t comment on them being instructed to leave us alone.

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    1. There is a third option of gentler exercise to avoid both pain and guilt; but that suffers from taking longer so amplifies the tedium—and means one has less time for other things, resulting in either the stress of rushing or, during busy periods, the different guilt of not doing as much non-exercise stuff.

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  2. The best way to get exercise is by doing something that just happens to involve movement. Like ‘Mole, I used to bike to work, but riding around without an objective other than exercise doesn’t do it for me. Gardening involves the occasional burst of exertion, but it’s not really enough, except for lugging heavy watering cans and raking leaves.
    An excellent point about advice to introverts to turn themselves into facsimiles of extroverts but not the reverse. I suppose it’s justified by extroverts being the majority. Supposedly.

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    1. I’ve heard “do something you would do anyway that involves exercise” too; and have the same niggle about it not feeling that same. I used to get a lot of exercise that way when I worked in another city, so did over an hour’s walking either way from home to the station and station to work; however, as I now work from home and live about 5 minutes stroll away from a large supermarket and a retail park, going to work and doing regular shopping don’t add up to much walking.

      My immediate thought was a joke about how extroverts are over-represented because they like it when a stranger with a clipboard jumps out wanting to ask about their four favourite flavours of savory yogurt; however, that started me wondering whether surveys do balance for the difference in introvert/extrovert likelihood of answering surveys.

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