Koslo's Nutrition Solutions

Friday, June 6, 2014

Using Positive Memories as Motivation for Exercise

If you are trying to muster up the motivation to exercise, close your eyes and think back to a time when you took in gorgeous scenery on a trail walk or had an exhilarating bike ride and felt amazing afterwards. Whatever it is, according to a new study, remembering a positive memory about exercise may be the key to motivating you for future workouts.
Study Results

For the study, researchers asked over 200 college students about their exercise habits, their academics, and their motivation in both areas. Students in the experimental group were also asked to describe either a positive or negative memory they thought would motivate them to exercise. After a week, researchers then asked both groups how much they exercised. What they found was that students who were asked to recall a positive memory reported much higher levels of exercise than those who were not asked to recall a memory about exercise (control group). Interestingly, the students who were asked to recall a negative memory also reported more exercise than the control group, although it was less than the students who remembered a positive experience.

Recalling good memories had the biggest effect, but why would recalling negative memories also lead to a slight increase in exercise? The researchers think that the negative memories may have lead to feelings related to the need to improve exercise behaviors, motivating students in a slightly different way.

Positive Memories Produce Positive Results

Finding the motivation to exercise is half (or more) of the battle for most people, so this study has some great applications that you can start using today. But if trying to think of a positive memory leaves you scratching your head, or the word “exercise” makes you cringe, it is time to banish those negative thoughts and focus on the positive. Here are a few activities that put the “joy” back into “enjoyable” when it comes to getting your exercise:
·      Can you think of a time when you were listening to music and it made getting activity that much more enjoyable? Maybe you were dancing with your grandchildren in the living room or playing Beethoven while gardening.
· Exercising is much more fun when we do it with others. Do you remember a time when you took a group hike, went mall walking with friends, or took a water aerobics class?
·      Being in nature is good for the soul and for the mood. Can you recall a walk you took in a beautiful place and how wonderful you felt afterwards?

Now go ahead and take a moment to close your eyes and take a stroll down your exercise memory lane. Try to come up with two or three good exercise memories and recall them in as much detail as possible. Keep these memories at the top of your mind and practice going through those past experiences as vividly as possible. Then try it out! You may be surprised how remembering those positive exercise memories creates a motivational chain reaction. Before you know it, you will be off of the couch and out the door in no time!


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