Do you hate going to the gym or constantly make excuses for not exercising? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most people are turned off by the idea of working out because it can consume too much time and energy.
But you can’t deny the health benefits of exercising which is why you must learn to love it if you want to live a longer, healthier life. A recent research featured in the BMC Public Health journal says that its easy to fall in love with fitness with one simple tweak.
Why Do Active People Enjoy Exercising More?
Michelle Segar is the director of the health and activity research center in University of Michigan and she has spent many years uncovering the secrets of motivation when it come to fitness. Segar is also the lead author of a previous study called No Sweat which discusses how exercise doesn’t have to strenuous to yield happiness and success. Now, in her new research, she is demonstrating how making small tweaks in your lifestyle can really make you enjoy physical activity.
40 female participants were featured in the study to determine what motivates them to stay fit. Segar and her fellow researcher asked the participants several questions about their thoughts on exercise and if working out made them feel less or more happy and successful.
Segar thinks that everybody who goes to the gym has a certain goal in mind: they want to lose weight and look good. But as soon as they achieve that goal, they lose the motivation to continue on the path of health and fitness – only if there was a way to make them change their views on exercising and think of it less as a means to an end and more as a lifestyle.
Exercise Doesn’t Have to be Intense or Scary
The group of participants in the study ranged from the ages of 22 to 49 and had similar goals in life: they wanted to have meaningful relationships and be successful achievers in their professional and personal lives. Although these women wanted similar things from life, they didn’t all enjoy exercising.
The participants who were the least active thought that working out was counterproductive to their goals. These were the same women who expressed their desire of spending leisure time relaxing or doing something that didn’t require a lot of movement – and the idea of exercise went completely against their wish. For them, if the workout wasn’t sweaty or intense, it didn’t count as a valid form of exercise.
Participants also said that setting a fitness goal can be stressful since it’s hard to stick to a schedule, take out the time and energy for gym every day and meet the expectations of your goal, all which can leave them overwhelmed and feeling defeated.
On the other hand, participants who were active had a completely different view on their lifestyles. They expressed a feeling of empowerment, accomplishment and a sense of relaxing that accompanied their workouts. For these women, their life goals were aligned with their health goals which is why it was easy for them to love exercising.
Daily Recommendation for Physical Activity
Segar says that there is a drastic difference the mindsets of women who workout and those who don’t. Less active people tend to look at exercising as a failure because they have tried before without any success. The fitness industry is partly to be blamed for this mindset for letting believe that high intensity workouts are the only effective way of getting in shape or losing weight.
Segar says that physical activity recommendations have changed drastically over the years and no longer is intensity a necessary trait of exercises. People now can d pretty much anything that they like and count it as exercise.
According to the Department of Heath and Human Services, adults can get significant health benefits from only 150 minutes of physical activity of moderate intensity – even taking a leisurely stroll every day for half an hour can fulfill your weekly quota without making the idea of exercise sound like too big of an undertaking.