I’ve been joggling every day for the last 1309 in a row. I haven’t been stopped by anything including weather, illness, or international travel. I guess in this way I’m different than most people who start exercise programs. The vast majority of people eventually stop. So, why don’t I?
Well, researchers noticed the same thing about a small minority of people and they wanted to find out what keeps them going. What makes some people more committed to exercising than others?
Why do people exercise
To figure out what keeps people exercising, the researchers first tried to determine why people were exercising in the first place. Some people are motivated to exercise because their doctor tells them to. Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually last because there are not immediate, obvious body changes. For example you can’t really feel your blood pressure changing.
Other people start exercising as a way to lose weight. We’ve previously written about how hard this is. I’ve run over 1500 miles in a year and lost a total of 1 pound. Not particiularly motivating!
But some people continue to exercise even if there are no obvious health or weight benefits. (That’s me). The scientists suggest that it is because these people are biologically programmed to like exercising.
It just feels good.
Which, unfortunately, means that if exercising doesn’t feel good to you, you probably aren’t going to stick with it. The fact that it is better for your health is not motivating enough.
I’m not sure that it feeling good is my primary motivation. Mine is really the fact that I’m on a streak and the fact that I want to live for as long as possible. The health aspect really does motivate me despite the fact that I don’t notice immediate improvements (like reduced weight).
Keep on joggling
I do feel fortunate that I like exercising and have found joggling to make me happy. If you can find a reason that exercise makes you happy, I’m sure it will help keep you motivated too.