Fitness, Evolution, and Human Behavior

Fitness, Evolution, and Human Behavior

After reading some of the questions we were provided about evolution and the topics we could dive into I chose fitness. The reason I chose fitness is because I am very into fitness and staying fit myself. When I think I fitness I think of lifting weights, sports, and going for a run but from a biologist standpoint it means a totally different thing. Biologists use fitness to describe how good a certain genotype or species is leaving offspring into the next generation. So when biologist say this it combines survival, mate finding, and reproduction all into one idea and can be applied to any species. When researching this topic there are many different ways and topics that I could specifically dive into. But rather than getting specific I found interest in the relation with fitness and human behavior around it. From reading some articles about how our behavior, I think it is safe to say that fitness almost comes addictive towards us humans. Many people can be addicted to fitness and or bodybuilding because they always seem unfit or not big enough. One theory I found interesting was the inclusive fitness theory. This theory explains individual genetic success and is defined as having the opportunity to pass along positive traits a maximum number of times through direct reproduction. This relates to fitness because as men we would like to stay fit and have more women be attracted to us. Maybe later on this semester I will do a deep dive blog post on some fitness theories and explain a couple of them and what they are.

No Pain No GAIN!!!!

Another idea that I really liked in one of the articles was when working out does your mind and body take in pain. This article stated that pain is not a physical thing and instance when working out it is an emotional thing. In other words its saying pain is just a negative emotion we create when working out. But besides pain becoming such a negative emotion our drive to avoid this “pain” is outmatched for our drive to seek pleasure. When working out both of those are there “pain” and “pleasure” but our mind always chooses to go with pleasure because as humans we like pleasure.

Image result for weight lifting pain
Photo by: Brian Ragin . Labeled for reuse.
Picture is openly licensed.

Biology of Pain

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Slightly hard to follow but this is an in depth process of how we feel nociceptive pain. Starts from spine and moves towards the brain.
Picture labeled for reuse.

Pain is definitely a major factor when working out but there are some interesting facts and ideas surrounding pain and the Biology of it. In a neurological sense pain is a nociception and its the transmission of signals along certain types of nerve fibers from the spinal cord to the brain. How we feel pain is by certain tissues called nociceptors. These are nerve endings and enable our bodies to receive the feeling or touch of pain. The perception of pain changes with age, health, and experience. The one to notice their would be health. If a really healthy guy was working out Vs. a very unhealthy guy working out Who do you think is going to experience more pain? Definitely the unhealthy guy. Another thing that tags along with pain might be distress or stress. Fitness at times can be very stressful and put a lot of stress on you. In a sense distress and stress are basically brother and sister to pain they are just less effective entities compared to pain but closely relate to pain. Both distress and stress can actually be described as the emotional effects of pain. An example of this would be if a man is trying to dead lift 900 lbs and doing so this man throws his back out and his back is now very messed up. I am most confident that he for sure felt pain and is going to be in great distress and have a lot of stress after this incident. One idea that shocked me while researching was if a brain equals pain. This is basically saying how big or how much of a brain is required to actually register pain. So that brings questions forward like if ants or small fish feel pain. Many scientists and biologists debate over this and some even think small fish or ants have such an effective fear reflex they don’t experience pain. I thought I would just mention this because I think it is really cool thing to ponder about.

Yet another thing I explored was how people can struggle to get into fitness and start to make fitness part of their lives. I agree fully with this short article of how to step into fitness and I feel all of the steps mentioned will help someone want a fitness habit. One thing specifically the article talked about was motivation. When humans think about fitness, working out, weightlifting, or anything that excites them they should be motivated to do it. With fitness and after every time you exercise it should build your motivation up and make you want to exercise more often. I can relate to this idea because after a workout or playing basketball I feel good about myself and accomplished. This also helps me get back after it the next day and in a sense this feeling becomes addictive.

Along with exercise habits I read an interesting article about how an exercise pattern can be easy and hard to follow. Initially working out is an investment of time, energy, and is already a disagreeable exercise with most humans. All humans and animals seek pleasure over pain but its important with exercise that it makes you feel good and it is a pleasure to your mental and physical health. This article also took a deep dive into how to create an effective habit with “cue and reward” method. If you provide intrinsic rewards and take a different standpoint at exercise, as humans you will be more appreciative and willing to exercise and start to make some exercise habits.

Lastly there was one article that really caught my eye when researching. The article went into good detail about psychosocial aspects revolving around fitness and physical activity in general. One specific detail I liked and learned from was how physical activity was shown to help with ADHD and other learning disorders associated with children. In a study it was said that with a regular jogging program over 10 to 20 weeks had shown a reduction in the need for stimulants with ADHD and other disorders. Another thing that the article mentioned was self esteem. I believe fitness and working out is a very mentally uplifting activity and I agree that it can raise your own self esteem and help you to be a more confident person. A personal example would be me having a bad day or I am angry about something. To resolve this I usually exercise and do fitness and it enables me to get in a better mood or let some anger out.

In conclusion to this blog post I hope you liked the ideas and things I read while researching about fitness and human behaviors. I hope you can see that fitness is a very positive thing and their are many things that come along with it.

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