Centr x Lifespan.io
No motivation? The answer could be in your gut
Centr has partnered with Lifespan.io, a nonprofit leader in longevity science journalism and advocacy, to bring you the latest research on aging and rejuvenation. Learn more about our partnership below.
We all know we should exercise, yet for many, it feels like a key ingredient is missing: motivation. Why do some people have it and others just… don’t?
A new study suggests that at least part of the answer may lie in the gut.
Who has the guts to get moving?
Researchers gathered a group of mice and used antibiotics to wipe out their gut microbiome, leaving other mice (the control group) untouched.
After putting the mice through their (tiny) exercise paces, scientists looked at the part of their brains that control movement and found higher levels of dopamine in those with the untouched guts. As for those who had been treated with antibiotics? No dopamine hit, poor little critters.
And when certain types of bacteria were reintroduced to the gut, the exercise performance of the treated mice improved.
Takeaway: The mice with bad gut flora did not find exercise rewarding. And without that exercise-associated dopamine surge, they had less motivation to do it.
Maybe he’s born with it. Or maybe it’s his microbiome?
What does this mean for my exercise motivation?
Dopamine plays a key role in the brain’s reward system and is a big reason that working out makes you feel good.
This study suggests that the fatty acid amides (FAAs) produced by some types of bacteria in the gut trigger neural signaling that spikes dopamine levels in the brain, making us want to move. Well, making the mice want to move, at least.
While it is fun to picture a bunch of very motivated mice running around on their little wheels, humans are not mice. But studies like this one add to our growing understanding of how influential the gut is on the mind (have you heard of the gut-brain axis?) and the rest of the body.
If these results can be replicated in humans, one day we may be able to boost our motivation to exercise by consuming a specific strain of bacteria. Would you like some FAAs with that morning smoothie?
In the meantime, if you need a little help getting off the couch, let Da Rulk give you a kick up the butt.
Disclaimer: This Centr content is adapted with permission from an article written by Lifespan.io. The content herein represents Centr’s interpretation of the original source material.
Centr x Lifespan.io
Centr has partnered with Lifespan.io to bring you the latest in longevity research. Lifespan.io is the leading source of industry news and a nonprofit advocacy foundation whose mission is to accelerate progress toward overcoming age-related diseases. Since 2014, the organization has focused on responsible journalism, high-impact advocacy, and media initiatives that make longevity research and education more accessible to all.
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