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Can Being Obese Biochemically Stop You From Exercising?

Being Obese

Researchers have found that you're being obese is actually stopping you from getting active – biochemically. It's not about it being harder to move around, but your very brain might have become wired to hate exercising.


Being obese is different from being overweight. The excess weight is much greater and puts a huge strain on your body. It's definitely harder to move about and you may have lost flexibility and the ability to move in certain ways. That certainly makes exercising seemingly impossible.

But researchers have found that there's a deeper underlying reason that you don't feel like exercising – your brain is kind of wired not to want to exercise! It turns out that when you become obese, the dopamine circuitry in your brain changes such that you're not rewarded as much or feel motivated to exercise.

What does this mean? When overweight or normal weight people exercise, they're rewarded by a release of dopamine and feel motivated to move around. When you're obese, your brain doesn't release as much dopamine when you think about exercising or while exercising – so it's like eating pizza without feeling the pleasure of eating pizza.

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But don't worry there are things you can do to boost your motivation to exercise. Life of Trends suggests trying aquatic exercise, which is available in most gyms. Here you do cardio in a swimming pool! The water softens your movements, making each movement easier to make – it's like training wheels for exercise! It's also great for you joints because it relieves pressure as you move, taking some of the weight off so there's less strain on your joints. It helps you endure for a longer and less difficult workout.

If you don't like going out to exercise, you can try these fun exercises that don't even feel like workouts:

Wii Fitness Games. You can exercise while playing your favorite console, Nintendo Wii! Wii's fitness games are designed to get you moving while you're playing. You can try boxing games like “Punch-Out!! Punchout!!” or groove to the beats of “Dance Dance Revolution.” These games make your brain release dopamine because you're having fun playing rather than because you're moving! This gives you a whole new motivation to exercise.

Pokemon Go. This is another Nintendo creation – but for your tablet or smartphone! Pokemon Go has you catching and training pokemon – but you have to physically catch them. This game utilizes augmented reality where what you do in real life and where you are determines your in-game progress. You have to find pokemon in their natural habitats in real life – like fields, lakes, and rocky areas. Pokemon medical centers for healing injured pokemon are also located only in public areas, like shops and libraries. Yes, you'll have to leave home – but to catch pokemon! You might not feel rewarded for walking outside, but that lovable, new dratini you just caught will make up for it!

If you're obese and don't feel like exercising, it might have nothing to do with you being lazy. Your brain is literally wired to hate exercise a little more than normal weight people. Try exercises that give you different motivations for moving around to help you get active again!