In a fascinating article on motivations for exercise, Jane Brody looks at some research into helping people maintain their motivation to exercise, a subject close to my heart:
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.
Instead of seeing exercise as a kind of self-punishment for past failure, why not see it as part of the way you take care of yourself:
Citing a “paradox of self-care,” Dr. Segar wrote, “The more energy you give to caring for yourself, the more energy you have for everything else.” She suggests viewing physical activity as a power source for everything else you want to accomplish. “What sustains us, we sustain,” she wrote.