Perhaps my greatest challenge as a health and wellness entrepreneur is getting someone who does not exercise to take that first step towards a healthier lifestyle by going for a short walk, taking a swim, or joining a gym (and actually using it!). Then I encourage them to do it again, and again, until their activity becomes as much a necessary part of their lives as brushing their teeth.
I promise them that if they take that first step, then the second and soon the third, their body and mind will begin lifting them from the couch and they’ll need to move! They’ll have more energy, feel better about themselves and, moreover, they’ll actually begin to incorporate healthier habits into other parts of their lives–most significantly with their eating habits.
Now, according to ScienceDaily.com, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have not only proven that moderate exercise is extremely motivating, they found that it’s may be even more motivating than more intense exercising.
Over 13 weeks, 60 moderately overweight men were divided into two groups–one group exercised 30 minutes daily, the other group exercised for an hour each day. Researchers found that the men in group one lost an average of 7.9 pounds during that period, while the second (harder working) group lost 5.9 pounds on average.
Why the surprising difference? Through interviews researchers were able to conclude that those who exercised moderately felt more motivated to make other healthy changes in their lives. They began eating better and, for instance, incorporating other healthy habits into their lifestyle. Perhaps the second group felt that they one hour of exercise alone was enough, and did less to make other healthy adjustments in their lives.
“The subjects in the test group that exercised the least talk[ed] about increased energy levels and a higher motivation for exercising and pursuing a healthy everyday life,” said Astrid Jespersen, ethnologist and associate professor at the school’s Faculty of Humanities. “They take the stairs, take the dog for an extra walk or cycle to work. In contrast, the men who exercised for one hour a day, after training, felt exhausted, demotivated and less open to making a healthy change. We are thus seeing that a moderate amount of exercise will significantly impact the subjects’ daily practices.”
What a great incentive!
If you already exercise regularly, take note: Perhaps the most valuable lesson from this study is that your time working out isn’t limited to your particular activity, but that you can get “exercise” is numerous every-day ways, such as taking the stairs or parking at the farthest spots at work or when shopping in order to get a few extra steps in.
Those extra steps add up, and will further help you shed those few pounds you’ve been vowing to get rid of for years.