Psychological Rejection of Physical Fitness

September 16th, 2011

So in June, I had a physical, and was instructed to lose weight, immediately. I’ve succeeded in that through an unusual regimen of my own creation, called “eating less”. I’ve also taken up jogging, which, although it sounds like a weight reduction technique, for me really isn’t. After jogging, I am very thirsty, and hungry, and want something sweet to drink and tasty to eat. This means that, inevitably, the amount of calories I burn jogging seem to exactly match the number of calories I take in during the course of the hour following jogging. Fortunately, I’m not going overboard — jogging isn’t making me fat. It’s just not particularly making me thin.

But, fine, I reason. Perhaps the jogging isn’t helping me lose weight, but it’s helping me become what they call “physically fit”. When I started jogging, I could jog maybe 15 minutes without needing to drop down into a walk. I now jog for 30 minutes straight. Not running, by any means — a mix of slow and medium jogging — but no walking, either. According to everything I’ve ever heard about physical fitness:

1) I should now be finding jogging exhilarating, or at least not unpleasant, and

2) I should be seeing the benefits of increased physical fitness in my daily life.

Well, with regards to 1…there are people who don’t like watermelon, or spinach, or shellfish. That may seem bizarre to folks who like that stuff, but there’s no accounting for tastes. Tastes are what they are. I don’t like exercise. Exercise that happens without noticing it (like when I was into rock climbing), sure, but exercise like sports, or working out, no. So, 3 months into my jogging regimen, I dislike it more than ever. But, hey, maybe I’m not losing weight, and maybe I hate doing it, but at least I can enjoy the physical benefits it brings.

No. This part truly doesn’t make sense. I can now start jogging out the door, and not stop until arriving back at the house 30 minutes later. But god forbid sometime during the day (even an off day, where I haven’t jogged in the morning) I forget a library book I’m supposed to return, or Tony’s diapers, or the like, and I have to jog two minutes back to the house to pick them up — inevitably, I’m winded and exhausted by the time I arrive. My body has apparently, begrudgingly, accepted the fact that it is now capable of jogging 30 minutes when dressed in jogging attire and listening to a podcast, but if I ask it to jog 3 minutes any other time, it informs me that its union has voted to reject overtime and working off the clock. We’ve had a long working relationship so far, so it’s willing to accept 1 minute of jogging when not scheduled to do so, but no more than that, or I’ll have to take it up with the union rep.

So, can anyone give me any ideas about why I should bother continuing jogging?

9 Responses to “Psychological Rejection of Physical Fitness”

  1. peacay Says:

    Given all you’ve said, I’d simply highlight the health of your heart, lungs, bones and circulation as being significant beneficiaries, even if unseen and even if those benefits won’t necessarily pay out until decades into the future. So maybe think of it as a gift to your wife and son: this is exercise insurance – it will most likely make your time later in life easier on everyone!

  2. bugbread Says:

    That makes sense. I better not get hit by a car or struck by lightning or otherwise killed before ripe old age, though, or I’ll come back from the grave to haunt…uh…I dunno, whoever invented jogging.

  3. iain Says:

    Your body has adapted to a 30 minute workout. But if you made it a 33 minute workout, you will not be gasping for breath in the last 3 minutes. Trick your body by carrying your iPod with you when you run back for the diapers…

    Also, you are not really jogging until, at the end of the jog, you want to actually vomit.

    Is you jogging in a fitness centre or are you on the road doing it? There is a big difference. Owing to the fact you are not actually moving forward in the gym you need to angle the running machine at least 3.5 degrees.

    iain (should be M.D.)

  4. bugbread Says:

    I think you’re misunderstanding the “3 minute” thing. Let’s say on Monday I wake up and jog 30 minutes. Then Tuesday is my “off day” (I jog every other day). Then Wednesday it’s rainy in the morning, so I don’t jog, but later in the day the rain has stopped, and I go out, but forget something at home. I will then be winded by a 3 minute jog. It’s not a 3 minute jog on top of a 30 minute jog, but a 3 minute jog by itself.

    I don’t think the “want to vomit” aspect is part of the definition of “jogging”, but the definition of “running”.

    But, yes, I’m jogging in “real-world conditions”: around the neighborhood, using different routes each day (to combat boredom, in addition to listening to podcasts, I jog different streets each time, combining my exercise with area exploration).

  5. iain Says:

    “combat boredom”, “area exploration”. Your vocabulary of warfare is oppressive. This may explain your bodies desire to rise up and resist.

  6. bugbread Says:

    I apologize to any that I may have thus oppressed, and would like to rephrase myself:

    “work harmoniously with boredom to explore its more subtle sides, such as interestingness”
    “getting in touch with the areas of my community which have thus far been denied their rightful voice”

  7. iain Says:

    I am going to put you on a regime of warkillers:
    ‘Death and Transfiguration’– Richard Strauss
    ‘The Fountains of Rome’– Ottorino Respighi

    I can only hope they do the trick.

  8. Adam Says:

    Aerobic exercise is only beneficial when you maintain an elevated heart rate for a minimum of 30 minutes, at least 3 times a week. If jogging doesn’t help you feel better and your stamina is not improving, you might be doing it less effectively than you should. I weigh 1-2 pounds more than I did when we were in high school together. I don’t jog at all. I lost 25 lbs earlier this year by changing my diet. It’s like your eating less invention but instead of less, I removed *all* gluten and sugars from my diet. When I added some sugar back in, my weight went up 8 pounds. I haven’t had any wheat, rye, oats, or barley (flour-containing items for 7 months). I haven’t had anything with dairy in it for much longer. I’d like to be able to jog. I’d also like to lift weights. I’m not telling you to make a drastic change and go gluten-free, but controlling the processed ingredients you eat directly impacts your weight. My goal wasn’t to lose weight but when all prepared foods contains ingredients on my do-not-eat list, I can’t help but lose weight. I did buy a step counter ( to record my walking efforts and save them on the computer. If I ever work my way up to jogging, I’ll get a heart-rate monitor to record and measure my aerobic efforts. For 3-4 months, I weighed less than my junior and senior year at JVHS! I started minor weightlifting and had to increase protein and sugar intake. I’m busy with school, work, and family so exercise dropped off completely and my weight went up a little. Reading your post helped remind me that I’m not meeting my fitness goals.

  9. Ray Says:

    Less energy in versus energy out is what gets you weight loss. Cutting or reducing certain foods from your diet helps a lot there and is healthy too. Physical exercise helps a little in the weight loss department but more in keeping your muscle in use so you don’t lose it during weight loss. Also being physically fit is generally a healthy thing to be.
    If jogging doesn’t do it for you try to find some other physical activity that does. Jogging doesn’t do it all for me either but i thrive on biking. All that really matters is that you find an activity you enjoy enough to pull through with.