Most of us have heard the saying, “Running gives you strength” or “Exercise is addictive”, but for many of us, exercise is hard to accept or love.
Some may say that they hate her, or are afraid of her, or that the thought of going to the gym is causing them anxiety.
Why do some of us hate exercise? And how can we overcome this to reap the life-saving benefits of body movement?
People did not evolve to “exercises”
Throughout human history, food has been scarce and activity has not been an option. For thousands of years, people had to move around to find food, and after eating, they stopped saving energy because they did not know where their next meal would come from.
So if you like to sit back and watch Netflix instead of going to the gym, you may feel comfortable that cognitive comfort is a natural human tendency.
So, according to Carol Maher, professor and director of the Future Medical Research Fund, and Ben Singh, research fellow at the University of South Australia, our 21st century lifestyles involve a lot of sedentary attitude. And with technology, machines and other labor-saving equipment, mobility is no longer necessary for daily survival.
However, physical inactivity is terrible for our health. An analysis published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet found that physical inactivity is associated with a 30-40% increase in the risk of colon cancer, a 30% increase in the risk of breast cancer, an increase of 20-60 % risk of type 2 diabetes and a 30-50% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Higher risk of premature death compared to physical activity.
So how much physical activity do you really need?
Australian adults (aged 18-65) are advised to do at least 150 minutes (albeit 300) of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
Moderate exercise can be a brisk walk, a light cycle or a lawn mowing.
And if you are ready to do vigorous physical activity, you only need half of that (75-150 minutes per week).
A variety of types of activities are encouraged because different physical activities bring different benefits. Muscle-strengthening exercises, such as weight lifting or push-ups, are encouraged twice a week to maintain bone and muscle strength.
And if all of this sounds like a lot of trickery, make sure every exercise works for you. And you do not need to follow physical activity guidelines to benefit from physical activity.
What are some scientifically based tips to motivate you?
According to psychologists, there are two main types of motivation: external and internal motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within – to do something for reward or personal challenge.
External motivation comes from external factors, such as trying to earn a reward or avoiding punishment.
You can increase your self-motivation by identifying why exercise is important to you.
Does the exercise make you feel? Exercise has long-term benefits for health and function, many benefits for your children and immediate effects on mood and vitality.
External triggers can also help you start exercising.
Arrange to meet a friend to exercise together
You are more likely to follow him because you do not want to disappoint your friend.
Research also suggests that people exercise longer when exercising with family and friends than when exercising alone.
With a new outfit or shoes that you will like. Make sure you pay the reward with a certain amount of exercise, so you have to earn it.
Fitness trackers have a range of features designed to increase motivation, such as requirements, self-monitoring and goal setting.
There is a huge amount of research showing that activity trackers increase physical activity.
Exercise every day at the same time
It becomes a habit. Research shows that exercising in the morning leads to faster habit formation than exercising in the evening.
Do an activity you enjoy
Starting a new exercise routine is quite difficult. Increase your chances of sticking with it by doing an activity that you find enjoyable.
Also, you can exercise with a higher intensity even without realizing it, if you do some kind of exercise that you enjoy. And if you hate running, do not do it. Go for a long walk in nature.
Listening to music
Improves mood during exercise, reduces strain, which leads to increased work output. These benefits are especially effective for regular and repetitive forms of exercise, such as walking and running.
Take your dog for a walk. Dog owners walk longer and longer than people who do not walk dogs, and they report feeling safer and more socialized in their area.
Make a financial commitment
Economic theory of behavior recognizes that human beings are motivated by aversion to loss.
Some commercial sites have exploited this for the sake of health by forcing people to enter into an “engagement contract” in which they pay a financial deposit that is forfeited if the obligation for health behavior is not met.
This approach has been shown to improve physical activity, medication adherence, and weight loss.
Be patient with yourself and remember the long game – it takes about three to four months to form an exercise habit. Then, internal stimulants take over to maintain your workout routine.