- Carol Maher and Ben Singh
- The Conversation*
We’ve all heard people say that “running makes you high” or “it’s addictive,” but many of us find it hard to love exercise. Some will even say they hate it, that it’s a nightmare, or that just thinking about going to the gym makes them anxious.
Why do some of us hate exercise? And how do you get past that to reap the benefits of getting your body moving?
Humans did not evolve to “exercise”
Throughout most of human history, there was a shortage of food and activity was not a matter of choice. For millennia, humans had to move to find food and, once fed, rested to conserve energybecause they did not know when they would eat again.
So if you feel like sitting down to watch Netflix instead of hitting the gym, you might take comfort in knowing that rest is a natural human tendency.
That said, our 21st century lifestyle means that we spend far too much time sitting down and lounging. With technology, cars, and other labor-saving devices, movement is no longer necessary for survival.
Nevertheless, being physically inactive is terrible for our health. A meta-analysis published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet found that physical inactivity is associated with an increased chance of cancer and other pathologies.
How much physical activity do you need?
In Australia it is recommended that adults (aged 18-65) get at least 150 minutes (although 300 is preferable) of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Moderate-intensity exercises include brisk walking, light cycling, or mowing the lawn.
In case you want to do vigorous physical activity, you will only need half of that (75-150 minutes a week). Vigorous activity is anything intense enough that you have trouble carrying on a conversation: jogging or running while playing a sport like soccer or tennis.
It is recommendedn various types of activity, as different physical activities have different benefits. Muscle-strengthening exercises, such as lifting weights or doing push-ups, should be done twice a week to keep your muscles and bones strong.
If all of that is starting to sound too complicated, rest assured that ANY exercise is good. You don’t have to meet any physical activity goals to benefit from it.
10 scientifically proven recommendations
According to physiologists, there are two main types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. The latter comes from within: doing something for the personal reward or challenge it means. Extrinsic motivation comes from external factors, such as trying to earn a reward or avoid punishment.
You can increase your intrinsic motivation by identifying why exercise is important to you.
1. Identify your “why”: Do you want to exercise for your health? For your children? For how does it make you feel? Exercise has long-term health benefits, indirect benefits for your children, and immediate effects on your mood and vitality. Keeping in mind what you want to gain from exercise can stimulate you to do something.
Extrinsic motivators can also help you start exercising.
two.Coordinate an appointment with somebody To do exercise together: You will be more likely to comply, because you will not want to look bad with those people. In addition, research indicates that people exercise more when they do it with family members or friends than when they do it alone.
3. Reward yourself: buying a new garment or shoes with which you like to exercise. Make sure that reward is tied to achieving a certain amount of exercise, so you deserve it.
Four.Get an activity monitor: they have a number of tools designed to promote motivation, such as giving prompts, measuring achievement, and setting goals. There is a plethora of studies suggesting that activity trackers increase physical activity.
5.Exercise at the same time of day: for it to become a habit. Research indicates that exercising in the morning establishes a habit faster than exercising in the evening.
6. Do activities you enjoy: Starting a new exercise habit is hard enough. Increase the chances of persevering by doing an activity you like. Also, you may be exercising more intensely without realizing if you are enjoying the activity. If you hate running, don’t. Take a long walk in nature.
7.start slowly: it ends with a desire to do more, instead of overdoing it. This also reduces the chances of feeling muscle pain or injury.
8. Listen to music animated Improves mood: and reduces the perception of effort, which encourages better results. These benefits are particularly effective with rhythmic or repetitive exercises, such as walking or running.
9.Take your dog for a long walk: People who walk their dogs walk longer than those who don’t, and report feeling safer and more socially connected in their neighborhoods.
10.Make a financial commitment: Behavioral economic theory recognizes that humans are motivated by loss aversion. Some commercial websites have used this for the sake of health by having people enter into a “contractual commitment” where they pay a deposit which they lose if the promise of healthy behavior is not kept. This strategy has been proven to improve physical activity, medication adherence, and weight loss.
You must be patient and keep in mind that goals are long term: It takes about three or four months to form an exercise habit. After that, intrinsic motivators will take over to keep your routine going. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up being one of those people addicted to exercise, inspiring your friends and family to do it too.
*Carol Maher is a Professor and Medical Researcher in the Emerging Leaders Program at the University of South Australia; Ben Singh is a Research Associate at the University of Australia. His article was published in The Conversation, whose original version in English you can read here.
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