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Get Going

Written by Jesse James Judd

If you are like a lot of people, you probably prefer to sit on a couch and watch TV– ignoring all the warnings about the dangers of sedentary lifestyle - than put on your workout gear and break a sweat.

What does it take to convince you to start moving and shaking?

A new University of Michigan study suggests that the most persuasive exercise message stresses immediate – rather than future - benefits that are meaningful to our daily lives.

“It’s a fact that some people just don’t dig exercise, even if they know it’s good for them,” says Jesse James Judd, a NASM, ISSA and NESTA certified fitness expert. “No matter what credible research or statistics you bring up, they will never become fitness enthusiasts.”

But the study says there is a way to motivate these people to give fitness a try.

“It’s important to find the right ‘hook’ – some specific benefit that’s relevant to their lives at this particular time, and not necessarily in the distant future,” Judd says. “Some folks just can’t get excited about long-term goals.”

The more specific, timely and compelling those rewards are, the more suited to our immediate needs, the more chance there is that we’ll get motivated to exercise. Judd says. “In a way, it’s a case of instant gratification – ‘I want results and I want them now.’”

How do you find a “hook” that will prompt you to start exercising? “Analyze your current health and lifestyle challenges and ask yourself what tangible changes and improvements you’d like to see right now – not next year or in ten years,” Judd suggests. “Then think about how you can solve at least some of these problems with exercise.”

For example:

  • You may be one of millions of people in this country who suffer from a phenomenon known as seasonal depression and, with the official start of fall just days away, you are dreading the onset of symptoms. However, this is where physical activity will be helpful in quickly and effectively reducing your mood swings, lessening fatigue, and increasing your energy level.
  • Do you keep tripping, stumbling and falling? You may think sitting on a couch will solve the problem but, sooner or later, you’ll have to get up and move around. Balance and coordination exercises will make you more stable and safer on your feet.
  • Do you have a few pounds to lose before a wedding or a family reunion? Well, being a couch potato is certainly NOT going to make you slimmer! However, some calorie-burning, fat-reducing workouts will.

“There are numerous situations like these where even a little bit of physical activity will have a tremendous positive impact on your immediate quality of life,” Judd says.

Article Reviewed: June 22, 2012
Copyright © 2015 Healthy Magazine

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