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Healthy Weight Success Stories

Hit the Road!

10/13/2009

Question:

I am a very difficult-to-motivate person when it comes to exercise – even though I know that it is one of the best things I can do for my health. Somehow I always let other things occupy my time. So when I saw that my health care plan was offering an incentive program to encourage people to walk more, I decided to form a team and enter the “Hit the Road” challenge. I deliberately invited 2 colleagues who are avid runners – not so we could win – but rather so I would be subject to their chiding if I let down on my end of the deal. This hasn’t turned me into an exercise lover, but I am walking more than I had been and thinking about ways to build more movement into my day. With the holidays approaching, I’m hoping this will at least help me stop the gain.

Answer:

This is an excellent example of how the support of people important to you, such as family members, friends, or co-workers, can motivate you to become more physically active. Scheduling activity with others also provides social pressure that can act as an incentive to keep you motivated. Just knowing that someone else is depending on you to be active can make you that much more likely not to skip scheduled exercise sessions. In fact, enlisting the support of others has been consistently found to be associated with improvements in physical activity, confidence in activity-related abilities, and quality of life.

So, if you are having trouble becoming or staying physically active, you might find the motivation that you need in those around you - - and you could all be healthier for it!

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Response by:

Brian C Focht, PhD, FACSM, CSCS Brian C Focht, PhD, FACSM, CSCS
Assistant Professor of Sport & Exercise Sciences
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University