Why is it that people have such a hard time keeping an exercise routine? A cool article on the New York Times has some revealing answers.
According to it, most go into exercise trying to lose weight or generally improve their health. Unfortunately for them, however, benefits usually don’t matter much to keeping us on track.
The article states:
“Many scientists and doctors who are avid exercisers — and who know and understand the medical science — say they were never motivated by the thought of improving their heart risk factors.”
What does motivate people to exercise is the feeling- the satisfaction gained when doing so. Additionally, there’s an either/or element to this:
“Biological traits, Dr. Dishman says, ‘seem to play a bigger role in both the choice to be active and the outcomes of being active than folks — namely public health advocates— have been willing to admit.’”
Now the concern about this kind of admission is that people will say, “There, see. You either dig exercise or you don’t. I don’t, so I’ll just forget about it.”
I think the moral here, assuming this story is really onto something, is that we focus less on the benefits and more on getting people to feel good about their routine. It might be more innate for some to crave the rush of exercise, but maybe it can be learned, too–or complemented, for example, by making exercise a social event.
If it makes you feel good, you’ll get up off your seat.
to new plateaus,