Certain psychoactive drugs like caffeine, described as `dope for lazy people’, could encourage sedentary people to exercise, endurance experts suggest. Together with lack of time, physical exertion is one of the main perceived barriers to exercise, researchers said.
This is not surprising because humans evolved to be `lazy’, that is to conserve energy.Samuele Marcora, director of research at the University of Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences in UK, suggests that reducing perception of effort during exercise using caffeine or other psychoactive drugs (eg methylphenidate and modafinil) could help many people stick to their fitness plans.
While acknowledging that such an intervention is both drastic and controversial, Marcora points out that percep tion of effort is one of the main reasons why most people choose sedentary activities for their leisure time. Compared to watching television (zero effort), even moderate-intensity physical activities like walking require considerable effort. Marcora said that finding a way that makes people with very low motivation to do even moderate exercise, like walk-ing, could be particularly useful.
Psychoactive Drugs Reduce Perception Of Effort During Workout: Researchers
Similarly , a reduction in perception of effort would be very helpful to the many people who find exercise difficult because they are overweight andor exercise after work in a state of mental fatigue. Marcora also said that while there is no strong ethical opposition to the use of psychoactive drugs to help quit smoking (nicotine) or treat obesity (appetite suppressants), the negative perception of doping in sport may prevent the use of stimulants and other psychoactive drugs to treat physical inactivity.
Given that physical inactivity is responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity , he hopes that psychopharmacological treatment for physical inactivity will be considered fairly and seriously rather than immediately rejected on the basis of unrelated ethical considerations about doping in sport.The study was published in the journal Sports Medicine.