This was originally posted on the US News & World Report website.
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: exercising for the primary purpose of losing weight won't help most people stick to exercise overtime. It can help you get started, but it probably prompts you to exercise in ways that you don't like. As a result, you will stop once you get tired of forcing yourself into this diet and feel like a failure - again. Not only are you missing out on your weight loss goal, but you are also missing out on the myriad of benefits of being active.
My studies are not the only ones supporting this claim. Other behavioral researchers also find that focusing on weight loss is far from the most strategic way to stay motivated to enjoy and benefit from regular physical movement. For example, a recent study in fitness centers, people motivated to exercise through weight loss go to the gym less often than those with different goals.
In addition, a parallel (and growing!) Body of knowledge in the biological sciences aligns with this perspective; this suggests that physical activity is generally an ineffective tool for weight loss. Take one recent study, for example, in which researchers surveyed nearly 2,000 people in different countries over five years and found that physical activity was not necessarily a shield against weight gain.
Even Martin Gibala, the founder of high-intensity interval training (a type of exercise involving short periods of full exercise), doesn't necessarily endorse fitness as a clear way to lose weight. “In general, exercise does not contribute much to weight control. People don't like to hear that, but it's true, ”he said in a recent New York Times. story. "It is much easier to cut calories in the diet than to burn a lot of them with exercise of any kind."
On top of that, Kevin Hall, a leading weight loss scientist at the National Institutes of Health, Told Vox last year, “Exercise is not a healthy weight loss tool. It is excellent for health. It is the best thing you can do after quitting to improve your health. But don't think of it as a weight loss tool.
You and your healthcare professionals might be alarmed that what you've always been told - that exercise is an important way to lose weight - puts most of us on the verge of failure. most of the time. But more and more health, wellness and fitness professionals are finding the same thing: The goal of "losing weight" doesn't help most of their patients and clients stay motivated over time. . Simply put: When you're told that you should exercise to lose weight, you probably won't stick to your physical activity schedule, even if you want to and intend to.
How many times are you going to approach taking better care of yourself with a strategy that has failed several times in the past? If this most common and traditional approach to physical activity doesn't motivate most of us, isn't it time for all of us - including you and your healthcare team - to take a look. pause and ask ourselves if we should give up? If you really want to be more active and take better care of yourself, start thinking about physical activity in a new way.
Science shows that what works most consistently is what feels good now - not something that feels like hard work or punishment, even if you do it for a good reason. If you want to motivate yourself or motivate others to strive for a distant goal like weight loss and health, you have to translate it into its immediate influence on life. today. Even marketing guru Seth Godin agrees. he said that if you want to motivate people to aim for a future-oriented goal, you actually have to figure out how to convert it to "how you feel now". Enough said.
So instead of working out at the gym because you want to lose weight, think about how it feels when you move. For example, do you tend to feel a surge of energy? Are you sleeping better? Is your stress decreasing? Make it your reasons for exercising - and see your desire to exercise increase. The irony is that when you start to take better care of yourself so that you feel better now, you are setting yourself up to cultivate better health in the future.
If you’re having trouble beginning an exercise plan or following through, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle getting out of the sedentary rut, despite our best intentions.
You already know there are many great reasons to exercise—from improving energy, mood, sleep, and health to reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. And detailed exercise informations and workout orgie are just a click away. But if knowing how and why to exercise was enough, we’d all be in shape. Making exercise a habit takes more—you need the right mindset and a smart approach.
While practical concerns like a busy schedule or poor health can make exercise more challenging, for most of us, the biggest barriers are esprit. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence that keeps you from taking positive steps, or your motivation quickly flames out, or you get easily discouraged and give up. We’ve all been there at some point.
Whatever your age or fitness level—even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life —there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and painful and more fun and instinctive.
Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or intensité yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your esprit and emotional health.
Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. So, don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current sport level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.
Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t accomplish or how far you have to go to reach your sport goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.
Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window de course, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move.
Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for activities that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can prove very effective—so, too, can squeezing all your exercise into a couple of séances over the weekend. If you’re too busy during the week, get up and get moving during the weekend when you have more time.
The key thing to remember about starting an exercise program is that something is always better than nothing. Going for a quick walk is better than sitting on the couch; one minute of activity will help you lose more weight than no activity at all. That said, the current recommendations for most adults is to reach at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule ? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective.
For most people, aiming for moderate intensity exercise is sufficient to improve your overall health. You should breathe a little heavier than normal, but not be out of breath. Your body should feel warmer as you move, but not overheated or sweating profusely. While everyone is different, don’t assume that training for a marathon is better than training for a 5K or 10K. There’s no need to overdo it.
Health issues ? Get medical clearance first. If you have health concerns such as limited mobility, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise.
Warm up. Warm up with dynamic stretches—active movements that warm and flex the groupes musculaires you’ll be using, such as leg kicks, walking lunges, or arm swings—and by doing a slower, easier version of the upcoming exercise. For example, if you’re going to run, warm up by walking. Or if you’re lifting weights, begin with a few light reps.
Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.
There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build vêtements that last. Follow these steps to make exercise one of them.
A goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week may sound good. But how likely are you to follow through ? The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail, feel bad about it, and give up. It’s better to start with easy exercise goals you know you can achieve. As you meet them, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum. Then you can move on to more challenging goals.
Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. In fact, research shows that the most consistent exercisers rely on them. Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers addict right by the bed and you’re up and course. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.
People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards it brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being. However, these tend to be long-term rewards. When you’re starting an exercise program, it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully complete a workout or reach a new sport goal. Choose something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.
If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.
Activity-based video games such as those from Wii and Kinect can be a fun way to start moving. So-called “exergames” that are played standing up and moving around—simulating dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or tennis, for example—can burn at least as many kcal as walking on a treadmill; some substantially more. Once you build up your confidence, try getting away from the TV screen and playing the real thing outside. Or use a smartphone app to keep your workouts fun and interesting—some immerse you in interactive stories to keep you motivated, such as course from hordes of zombies !