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Here's Why You Might Want to Plan Your Exercise Regimen

Posted by Bryan Potok, CPO on

Do you find yourself motivated to work out with a planned fitness regime or are you more spontaneous? If you belong to the former, you are not alone. A recent study found that those who work out with a plan successfully maintain a healthy lifestyle than those who prefer spontaneous physical activity.

Amputees in an exercise class doing sit-ups

The study was produced by a group of psychologists led by Prof. Fabio Lucidi from the faculty of Medicine and Psychology of the Sapienza University of Rome and a research team led by Prof. Antonio Giordano, Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University.

The team tested a psychological and mathematical model on two sample groups comprised of older adults. The first group was told to do spontaneous physical activity while the second was engaged in an exercise class. 

The results of the study, which was published in the journal Oncotarget, showed that the second group was successful because they experienced autonomous motivation. According to the researchers, autonomous motivation is a psychological construct that refers to the feeling of self-worth from doing certain activities. 

In the study, the second group enrolled themselves in an exercise class and even enlisted the help of a fitness instructor. The act of simply showing up at the class allowed the participants to feel a sense of autonomous motivation. Compared to the other group, they were more successful at starting and maintaining an active lifestyle despite scheduling challenges or feeling physical discomfort. 

The result of the study is key to helping anyone start a fitness regime with less resistance from external factors. This is especially important when taking care of older adults, a demographic that is expected to increase three-fold by 2050. Older adults can significantly benefit from regular exercise to combat loneliness and prevent cognitive decline as well as some diseases. 

What about you? Do you feel motivated by enrolling in a fitness class or do you prefer to get your exercise from spontaneous activity? Let us know in the comments section below.
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