By Ken Reed

We’ve been told for years that exercising more will make us healthier, thinner, and probably allow us to live longer. Yet, the amount we exercise doesn’t change. That fact has been stumping exercise advocates and researchers for a long time.

Michelle L. Segar, a research investigator at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan, believes the focus needs to be on why exercise enhances one’s life in the present instead of what exercise can do for somebody over time.

“It has to be portrayed as a compelling behavior that can benefit us today,” says Segar. “People who say they exercise for its benefits to quality of life exercise more over the course of a year than those who say they value exercise for its health benefits.”

Segar believes focusing on the immediate awards of exercise vs. emphasizing more distant ones will be more effective in getting Americans to move more.

“Feeling happy and less stressed is more motivating than not getting heart disease or cancer, maybe, some day in the future,” says Segar.

It’s an approach worth taking. The current approach isn’t working. The health of Americans continues to deteriorate and health care costs continue to skyrocket.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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