… and why you should get your body out of its comfort zone.
Published on November 10, 2014 by Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D. in Shrink
A friend of mine came back from one of those crazy obstacle races and commented, “I’m finally used to walking around with my shoes, socks, and feet soaking wet and cold.” He said that when he first started exercising outside he had no tolerance for cold, wet shoes and socks but now that he’s had to run through swamps and mud puddles, it’s no big deal: He hardly notices.
This got me to wondering if the real reason we don’t exercise is our desire to avoid any experience of discomfort. People often say they don’t exercise because they have no time, but in the same breath talk about how much they want to get healthy, and how much they believe exercise is the path to better health. It’s a puzzling contradiction—or is it?
Theories of human behavior have long shown that immediate experience often outweighs future rewards. What this means is that it is hard to do something uncomfortable even if it earns us something good later.