Exercising at a gym or any kind of physical activity, in general, has a lot of benefits for our wellbeing. They also represent a great way to lose weight or build some muscle mass. However, a new study reveals that overweight people have a tendency to exercise less due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Researchers from the National Institutes for Health have revealed that overweight or obese individuals exercise less than normal not because starting it requires a great deal of effort if you’re not accustomed to it, but because they have a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Furthermore, their study reveals that obesity caused by a person’s diet leads to changes in the brain that affect the predisposition for exercising. The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, was performed on laboratory mice.
Researchers performed a series of experiments which determined whether being obese or even overweight leads to changes in dopamine, the chemical in our brain that affects our mood, appetite, as well as motor control. The team of researchers found a number of changes in the brain of mice who were overweight.
The mice in cause became gradually indisposed to any kind exercise or physical activity. The scientists were able to accurately determine the degree of chemical imbalance in their brains by controlling a receptor for dopamine known as DR2 using a drug. This allowed them to measure accurately how dopamine affected both overweight as well as lean mice.
To confirm the association between obesity and dopamine, the researchers altered the activity of the receptor in lean mice. They soon observed that even lean mice started to exhibit the same behavior as overweight mice, not engaging in any type of physical activity.
The lead author of the study, Alexai Kravitz, an investigator from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, stated that the common belief that extra weight imposes constraints on the ability of people to exercise does not tell the whole story of the tendency to exercise less. Part of the story is explained by the chemical imbalance of dopamine in the brain which alters the mood of people to exercise, thus they lack to proper motivation to engage in any physical activity.
What do you think about the study’s findings?
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