Love exercise? Loathe exercise? It may be in your genes.

I’ve spent my entire career try­ing to inspire peo­ple to enjoy the plea­sures of body move­ment. That’s one of the rea­sons I orga­nized the 2016 Prince­ton Fit­ness Chal­lenge — to moti­vate com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to estab­lish con­sis­tent fit­ness habits.

Still, it seems that there’s a com­mit­ted core of couch pota­toes who – no mat­ter how I try to moti­vate them — sim­ply don’t enjoy exer­cise as much as I think they should.

New research sug­gests that the prob­lem may lie in their genes.

For many, exer­cise trig­gers the release of that won­der­ful, plea­sur­able hor­mone, dopamine.  But oth­ers are miss­ing the genet­i­cal­ly-endowed chem­i­cal machin­ery that links dopamine release with phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.

Less of an exer­cise “high,” less moti­va­tion to move.

This genet­ic find­ing could explain why some peo­ple pre­fer to spend their evening with a good book instead of in yoga class.

If you’re lacking the genetic make-up, what can you do to develop healthy exercise habits?

One strat­e­gy is to link move­ment to an expe­ri­ence that you do find more plea­sur­able. Here are three exam­ples, but no doubt you can cre­ative­ly invent many more:

  • You can turn exer­cise time into a social activ­i­ty by work­ing out with your friends
  • Lis­ten to your favorite music while danc­ing in the pri­va­cy of your own home
  • Enjoy the out­doors on a hike or bike ride
  • Instead of sit­ting on the side­lines watch­ing your daughter’s soc­cer game, walk around the field three times

Read more about it


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Hate exer­cise? Fit­ness is child’s play.

Are you healthy enough to not exer­cise?


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website,, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.

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