A Change in Focus Can Be Helpful in Losing Weight

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While we strive to achieve our fitness and weight loss goals, there are times when the motivation meter runs low. In fact, reports say that as much as 67% of gym memberships are never used. For women though, a change in focus can be helpful in keeping you motivated to exercise.


According to a study entitled “Rethinking physical activity communication: using focus groups to understand women’s goals, values, and beliefs to improve public health,” a change in focus may be helpful. Instead of focusing on exercise intensity, directing your attention to exercises that make you happy will improve exercise motivation. Being more relaxed about the physical activities you engage in may increase women’s motivation to exercise as suggested by the study published in the BMC Public Health journal.


“A new understanding of what really motivates women might make an enormous difference in their ability to successfully incorporate physical activity into their daily routine—and have fun doing it.” (Michelle Segar, co-author)


Study Suggests Change in Focus

Forty women aged between 22 and 49 years old participated in the study. Of these, 29 were deemed inactive (defined as exercising for under 120 minutes each week), while 11 were considered active (defined as exercising for at least 120 minutes weekly). The respondents discussed their goals, values, and daily priorities along with beliefs, feelings about and experiences being physically active.


The researchers found that women who were inactive reported they felt “pressured” to exercise in order to improve their health or to lose weight.


“The direct conflict between what these low-active women believe they should be doing when they exercise, and their desire to decompress and renew themselves during leisure time, demotivates them. Their beliefs about what exercise should consist of and their past negative experiences about what it feels like actually prevents them from successfully adopting and sustaining physically active lives.” (Michelle Segar)


Ditch the Traditional Focus of Exercising   

According to the researchers, conventional beliefs about physical activity can harm exercise motivation.


“We’ve all been socialized to exercise and be physically active for the last 30 years. The traditional recommendation we’ve learned to believe is that we should exercise at a high intensity for at least 30 minutes, for the purpose of losing weight or improving our health. Even though there are newer recommendations that permit lower-intensity activity in shorter durations most people don’t know or even believe it. This traditional approach to exercising might actually harm exercise motivation. Our study shows that this exercise message conflicts with and undermines the very experiences and goals most women have for themselves.”


Take a More Relaxed Approach to Exercise   

Furthermore, the researchers found that a change in focus and taking a more relaxed approach to physical activity might increase the motivation to exercise.


“There are important implications from this study on how we can help women better prioritize exercise in their day-to-day life. We need to re-educate women [that] they can move in ways that will renew instead of exhaust them, and more effectively get the message across that any movement is better than nothing. To increase motivation to be physically active, we need to help women to want to exercise instead of feeling like they should do it.”


So if you’ve been having some difficulty sticking to your workout routines, try a change in focus to boost your exercise motivation. Engage in exercises that make you happy you want to do them as often as you can.

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