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You’ve heard it all before... exercise can help you lose weight, help
prevent diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and help you live
to a healthy old age -- all spectacular benefits that are well worth a bit of
sweat and exertion.
So why, then, do the majority of U.S. adults get no vigorous exercise,
and only 28 percent do so three times or more a week?
Clearly, something in the message is not getting through... or it is not
motivating enough to make most people think of exercise as a priority in
their day – like working, eating and sleeping. New research has revealed that
part of the problem may, in fact, be in the way exercise is advertised, which
is missing out on a key motivating factor.
Would You Exercise More If...
You thought your workouts would enhance your well-being today? If, after
you walked out of the gym or got home from a run, you knew you would feel
happier, more optimistic and better able to deal with all of the stress that
comes with living?
Research by Michelle L. Segar, a research investigator at the Institute
for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan, and
colleagues suggests you would. The study found that while many people started
an exercise program to lose weight and improve their appearance, they
continued to exercise because of the benefits to their well-being.
Once people recognized this connection to their emotional health, they
continued to work out because it made them feel good mentally. Dr. Segar
“It [Exercise] has to be portrayed as a compelling behavior that can
benefit us today... People who say they exercise for its benefits to quality
of life exercise more over the course of a year than those who say they value
exercise for its health benefits.
…Immediate rewards are more motivating than distant ones... Feeling
happy and less stressed is more motivating than not getting heart disease or
cancer, maybe, someday in the future.
…Physical activity is an elixir of life, but we’re not teaching
people that. We’re telling them it’s a pill to take or a punishment for bad
numbers on the scale. Sustaining physical activity is a motivational and
emotional issue, not a medical one.”
Exercise 'Marketing' Should Focus on Its Benefits to Your Happiness
Perhaps in order to entice people to want to exercise, we do need to
change the way we “market” the idea. Rather than viewing exercise as a
medical tool to lose weight, prevent disease, and live longer, why not view
it as a tool to immediately enhance your frame of mind?
It does this well, after all.
Regular workouts, even during the winter months, will boost your mood
naturally and chase away the blahs or even more serious feelings of
depression. Exercise has been found to work at least as well as
antidepressants to treat symptoms of depression. Just getting outside for a
walk or to the gym for a 30-minute workout can dramatically improve your
mood, both short and longer term.
Exercise boosts levels of potent brain chemicals like serotonin,
dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of
stress. Many avid exercisers also feel a sense of euphoria after a workout,
sometimes known as the “runner’s high.” It can be quite addictive, in a good
way, once you experience just how good it feels to get your heart rate up and
your body moving.
So if you’re having trouble motivating yourself to exercise, there are
immediate benefits to help get you over the hump. Aside from the emotional
“high,” other immediate or near-immediate benefits include:
Boost your immune system
Improve blood flow to your brain
Build self-esteem and body image
Once you experience these personally, you’ll likely have a high level of
self-determination or autonomy when it comes to deciding to exercise. Rather
than viewing it as a chore that you have to do, you’ll view it as a choice
that you value spending your time doing – and probably also start to think of
it as essential to keeping your emotional sanity. And exercise is, indeed,
“We need to make exercise relevant to people’s daily lives,” Dr.
Segar continued. “Everyone’s schedule is packed with nonstop to-do’s. We can
only fit in what’s essential.”
Turning on Some Tunes Will Improve Your Exercise Performance Effortlessly
Since we all want to make the most of our exercise time, it’s worth
noting that listening to music while exercising can increase your endurance
by 15 percent, and your movement will likely follow the tempo of the song.
For instance, in one study when the music's tempo slowed, the subjects'
exertion level reduced as well. And when the tempo was increased, their
performance followed suit.
Your body may be simply responding to the beat on a more or less
subconscious level, but the type and tempo of the music you choose while
working out may also influence your conscious motivation. Certain music may
also have an enhancement effect by either reducing perceptions of fatigue or
increasing work capacity with higher than expected levels of endurance,
power, productivity or strength. To get the most benefits, the "right" music
has to be chosen, and researchers determined the most effective music for
exercise should be:
Functional for the activity (rhythm should match up with your
Selected with desired effects in mind (loud, fast, percussive music
with a lot of bass will increase arousal, slower music will help you unwind,
cool down, etc.)
Accompanied by lyrics associated with movement, such as "the only way
Within the tempo band of 125-140 beats per minute for most people
You needn't get bogged down with the details, however, as selecting music
is a highly personal and intuitive process. When a song gets you energized
and rearing to go, you'll know it, and these are the types of songs you
should add to your workout playlist. Most of the music playing in typical
gyms I have not found very helpful, but you can use your own music with a
pair of high-quality lightweight headphones.
Thank You Dr. Mercola
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
42 S. Sherwood Dr.
Belton, Tx. 76513