Moderate exercise elicits more motivation to pursue a healthy lifestyle

People who moderately exercise for 30 minutes a day have more energy and motivation to pursue a healthy lifestyle compared with individuals on a high-dose exercise routine, according to recently published data.

To examine the effects of two different doses of endurance exercise of health behavior and exercise compliance, researchers randomly assigned 61 healthy, sedentary, moderately overweight young men into a sedentary control group and a moderate- or high-dose endurance exercise group for 12 weeks. A subset of participants was interviewed to elucidate physical activity and health behavior. Researchers connected qualitative and quantitative data in a joint analysis.

They found that the different doses of daily exercise equally improved various metabolic health parameters. The moderate exercise group was untroubled by the exercise load and had a positive attitude toward exercise, describing themselves as more energetic. Researchers believe participants in the moderate group may have increased physical activity levels in their everyday lives not related to the intervention. However, participants in the high-dose exercise group expressed increased fatigue, less positivity and perceived exercise as time-consuming.

“The qualitative data offers a possible explanation for the surprising biological data. The subjects in the test group that exercised the least talk about increased energy levels and a higher motivation for exercising and pursuing a healthy everyday life. They take the stairs, take the dog for an extra walk or cycle to work,” Astrid Jespersen, ethnologist and associate professor at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen, stated in a press release. “In contrast, the men who exercised for 1 hour a day, after training, felt exhausted, demotivated and less open to making a healthy change. We are thus seeing that a moderate amount of exercise will significantly impact the subjects’ daily practices.”

For more information:

Gram AS. Scand J Public Health. 2013;doi:10.1177/1403494813504505.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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