I loved this article, published on Jane Brody’s Personal Health Blog on the New York Times site this past Monday. It highlights recent research suggesting that medical professionals and public health officials rethink the language they use to motivate people to (cringe) “exercise.”
Dr. Michelle L. Segar, of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan, had this to say about recent studies which have found that people are more motivated to continue exercising when they’re doing it for reasons other than weight loss or appearance:
“Physical activity is an elixir of life, but we’re not teaching people that. We’re telling them it’s a pill to take or a punishment for bad numbers on the scale. Sustaining physical activity is a motivational and emotional issue, not a medical one…..We need to promote what marketers call ‘customer loyalty.’ We need to help people stay engaged with movement by teaching them how it can help sustain them in their lives.“
Dr. Segar’s thoughts on this are right on. I’ve learned a lot about people’s health and nutrition habits and attitudes over the last several years in my role at PepsiCo. One thing I’ve learned for certain is that “exercise” has become intimidating. Health professionals and public service ads need to convey that “boosting everyday movement,” vs. exercising, isn’t all that hard to do. It can be enjoyable, help people feel less stressed, and result in more energized, positive feelings. This is the message we need to get across!
Hope you’ve all gotten in some movement yourselves today. If not, be sure to over the long weekend!