Tuesday. Remember when work-from-home seemed like it was going to be here to stay? Well, Disney and Starbucks announced new return-to-office requirements for hybrid staff. According to a survey by Resume Builder, 90% of companies will require a return to the office this year. Oh, how the tides have turned. Speaking of tides turning, how are your New Year’s resolutions going? If they are fizzling already, we may have the reason why. Let’s dive in.
Your Gut Health Is To Blame
We are not even three full weeks into the New Year, and already people are failing to keep their New Year’s resolutions. We already blew past National Quitter’s day on January 13th, when most people give up on their resolutions. At this point in the year, gyms should already start to look a little less crowded and fast-food drive-through lines a little bit longer.
Like clockwork, everyone starts the year with the best of intentions, but also, like clockwork, the excitement usually fizzles, and the motivation wanes much faster than we’d like. We have all been there. Even if you haven’t given up on your resolutions, few people are as excited to work out and do all the right things today as they were on Jan 1.
So why is it so difficult to stay motivated, particularly when it comes to exercise? According to a recent study, the gut microbiome might have an impact on the desire to exercise. That’s right. There might actually be something going on inside the body that makes it difficult to stay motivated and hit the gym.
According to the CDC, about half of the American population fails to get the recommended amount of physical activity. And while many people will blame lack of time for why they don’t get their daily dose of movement in, Netflix and other streaming service data would beg to differ. Collectively, we have the time but lack the motivation.
All that time we spent binge-watching Ted Lasso could have been used to do some pushups and squats.
In the study we mentioned above, researchers observed that some mice loved the exercise wheel while others mostly ignored it. At first, researchers suspected that genetics would explain the difference in behavior, but it turns out that has little to do with it. Instead, researchers found that differences in gut bacteria matter more.
Researchers confirmed their theory by treating the active mice with broad-spectrum antibiotics, killing off their gut bacteria. As expected, the distance those rodents were able to run dropped by half (and they started watching more mice Netflix). Backed by a handful of additional studies, the conclusion was clear: thriving gut microbiomes have been linked to optimal muscle function in mice.
There needs to be additional research conducted on whether this hypothesis applies to humans. However, we know that the gut-brain connection is real, and these rodent studies seem to support the fact that gut health can impact our motivations and behavior.
The key takeaway? It would be ideal if we all enjoyed exercise and were motivated to do it year-round. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the U.S. We are a sedentary society desperately starving for more movement but lacking the motivation to get started. If we can better understand how our gut impacts our motivation to exercise, we can find microbiome-based ways to get sedentary Americans off the couch.
Who knew that adding some sauerkraut or kimchi to your diet might be the key to getting you to move more in 2023?