For many of us, buying a gym membership is the easy part, while actually getting our feet off the couch and going to the gym is the hard part. While the endless bouts of yawning, stretching, and fatigue, may be weighing you down as you continue to pack on the pounds, you may not be fully responsible. The lack of desire to do physical activity and just be lazy, according to AsapScience, may be in your DNA, specifically your “couch potato” gene.
The lack of motivation for running, or any physical activity, can be linked to the couch potato gene, a mutation of a normal gene, SLC35D3, that regulates activity levels. Without the dopamine receptor from the normal gene, we’re more likely to prefer to sit around compared to those without the couch potato gene.
"Evolution has molded our brains and bodies to respond positively to natural rewards such as food, sex and exercise," according to the AsapScience video "The Science of Laziness,” written and created by Mitchell Moffit, a singer, actor, and biology student from Toronto, Canada. The pleasures we experience derive from the dopamine system in our brain that transmits these messages throughout the body to help ensure the survival of our species. A 2010 study found the dopamine system can regulate motor movement as well as motivation and reward behavior.
The gene we inherit from our parents play a key role in the development of our brains. Researchers have suggested laziness may be hereditary. A 2005 study found the brains of mice who chose to run on a wheel more often, compared to those who decided not to run as much, have larger dopamine systems and regions that deal with motivation and reward. After 10 generations of offspring, the desire for physical activity was found to be genetic.
This helps explain why gym and fitness enthusiasts feel pleasure from exercise that is comparable to being just as addictive as food and sex. Just like the mice, fitness gurus need activity. Otherwise, their brains will begin to act like that of a drug addict who needs cocaine or nicotine. Genes can influence our impulsivity, procrastination, and, yes, laziness.
Although the desire for physical activity may not be up to us, we are better equipped in understanding our brain and fighting our DNA. “Your brain will reward you in the end,” AsapScience says in the video.