Rethinking Exercise as a Source of Immediate Rewards – The New York Times

Rethinking Exercise as a Source of Immediate Rewards – The New York Times

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/20/rethinking-exercise-as-a-source-of-immediate-rewards/

Though it seems counterintuitive, studies have shown that people whose goals are weight loss and better health tend to spend the least amount of time exercising. That is true even for older adults, a study of 335 men and women ages 60 to 95 showed.

Rather, immediate rewards that enhance daily life — more energy, a better mood, less stress and more opportunity to connect with friends and family — offer far more motivation, Dr. Segar and others have found.

“I like to think of physical activity as a way to revitalize and renew ourselves, as fuel to better enjoy and succeed at what matters most,” she said.

In her new book, she describes strategies to get even the most sedentary people off their duffs, starting with ways to overcome past failures and negative feelings about exercise that make it feel more like punishment than pleasure.

Instead of the recommended half hour a day or 10-minute doses of moderate exercise three times a day on most days, Dr. Segar suggests focusing on the idea that “everything counts” — taking the stairs instead of the elevator, weeding the garden, dancing, even walking to the water cooler.

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