I’ve heard it before, but in my endless quest to avoid pain, I often forget- early workouts are more sustainable than later ones. And having a companion counting on you gets you out the door.
According to an article by James S. Fell in the Los Angeles Times posted on April 4 (apparently, I am also on an endless quest to avoid timeliness), “Social context, self-control and positive reinforcement play critical roles in exercise adherence.”
Three big takeaways from Fell’s article:
- People do what they like to do. Even if an exercise is better for you but you hate it, you won’t do it. So stick with what you like: Fell says, “When picking an exercise, choose maximum enjoyment over maximum results, and the positive reinforcement wiill help you stick with it.”
- Your will to exercise fades throughout the day. Fell quotes Barbara Brehm, a professor of exercise at Smith College: “Self control is a limited resource and that the stress we experience during the day gradually erodes our willpower to exercise.”
- People like people. Fell quotes Bert Carron, professor of kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario in London: “Human beings are wired to be in groups.” Successful groups tend to have people with common traits (for example, they may be generally same age) but you don’t have to be best friends- you’re more likely to show up for a group class even if you’re not friends with the other people in the group.
I might have my own spin on the last one. I tend to like exercising alone (to the degree that I like to exercise at all) – fewer people see my sloppy form and excessive panting. But it helps me to share a goal with someone, like the half-marathon I ran last month with my friend Lily. She and I didn’t train together, but we knew we were counting on each other to run the race together. And that got me through the workouts.
Do these tips ring true for you? What others would you add?