Years ago, the idea of little or no exercise for a prolonged period of time might have really depressed me, especially if I was in one of my ‘exercising periods’. That sense of dread would come because I never really looked at exercise as a way of life. It was always a means to an end – just like a diet. The more religiously and rigorously I did it, the faster I’d get to where I wanted to be – thinner. Any time missed could be disastrous, sending me reeling backwards.
I can honestly say that today I live without the ‘exercise to lose weight head’. And it’s liberating. There was an interesting study which proves this very point. The study was lead by Michelle Segar, a University of Michigan psychology researcher who collaborated with Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, former U of M psychology professor, and Donna Spruijt-Metz of the Institute of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Los Angeles.
From the study:
• Women exercising with a body-shape motivation reported walking 2 ½ times less than women with non-body shape motives, (16 percent vs. 55 percent).
• Women with body-shape motivation reported taking classes and going to gyms/fitness centers three times as often as women with non-body shape motives (52 percent vs. 12 percent), showing that women with this goal used exercise techniques they might not enjoy more frequently because they thought it would help them lose weight the fastest.
• Women who exercised for body-shaping reasons reported participating in physical activities that are higher intensity. They also selected activities that fit into the more traditional definition of exercise—more formal and structured activities—with the idea that they had to go some place for it to count as exercise.
As we’ve often written here, finding the intrinsic joy in exercise is the key to getting a healthier body, mind, overcoming exercise fears, and improving your outlook on just about anything. It takes a little practice to get there, but once you get there you feel such joy and accomplishment, nothing feels quite so good.
Source: Joe Serwach – University of Michigan News Service