There’s been a lot of talk in the exercise and public health worlds about setting goals for physical activity. But intuitively, I’ve always known that no matter what your goal, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re not going to be consistent—even if your goal is to avoid heart disease or cancer!
A new study bears me out. Researchers at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan, studied healthy, midlife women aged 40-60, for a year. They found that those who gave weight loss and health benefit goals as their reason for exercising actually exercised significantly less than those who exercised for stress reduction or a sense of wellbeing.
What that means is that whatever you choose as your means of exercise, it better be something that you enjoy. Because if you don’t look forward to it and come away from it relaxed or refreshed, most likely your goals won’t be enough to keep you coming back for more.
From my perspective as Walking Editor for Prevention magazine for 20 years, that meant always encouraging people to get off the treadmills and into the great outdoors. Treadmills can work for a while, or as a necessity, but the healing and soothing qualities of nature and the pleasure of taking a walk on a beautiful day (or even a rainy day!) can create the momentum that keeps you looking forward to your next “exercise” opportunity.
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Exercise is too important to your health and wellbeing to ignore. So experiment to find out what kinds of exercise you really enjoy. And if conversation makes your exercise more fun, make sure you find several dedicated buddies to help you keep keepin’ on.
QUICK TIP: Trying to figure out how to lose weight naturally? Read our Special Report on Natural Weight Loss.
Written exclusively for Stop Aging Now, the authority on anti-aging research, anti-aging nutrition, and anti-aging supplements.