Updating the message to get Americans moving

From the New York Times Personal Best:

Rod Dishman, director of the psychology laboratory at the University of Georgia, is annoyed when students enroll in one of the fitness classes offered at his university. Because it’s a class in walking.

“It is a sin for a healthy, capable young adult to enroll in a walking class,” he said. “It is obscene. What they are getting credit for is avoiding making any effort.”

And therein lies a problem, Dr. Dishman and other researchers say. The public health message about exercise is that any amount is good and that walking is just fine. Everyone has been told, repeatedly, that regular exercise improves health and makes people feel better, happier, more energetic. Nearly all Americans say they have heard those messages. They know that exercise is good for them and that they should do it. . . .

If Americans know exercise is so good for them, why don’t they take the message to heart as they did the exhortations against smoking? And if exercise makes people feel so good, why don’t they just do it?

Maybe, some researchers say, the problem is the message. It obviously has not had much of an effect. The idea now is to make use of tools that psychologists have developed to assess people’s moods during exercise, asking how good or bad it feels as the intensity varies.

Read the complete story here.

 

Yet they do not.

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