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Research Yields Fitness Motivation Tips for a Healthy New Year

by Matrix Admin | Aug 01, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS – As the weather chills and the economy starts getting back into shape, many wannabe exercisers hope to invest in themselves by becoming healthier in 2010.

Research from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides tips and tricks for staying resolute on those fitness resolutions and enjoying a healthy, happy holiday season.

  • Plan ahead. The holidays are stressful – but a few lifestyle tweaks can ease the angst, according to a study in ACSM’s official journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. Researchers found that those who combated anxiety and weight gain with regular, moderate exercise (30 minutes per day of walking can suffice) and stress management techniques reported boosted mood and reduced body weight.
  • Find your own reason to get fit. Research shows that men and women decide to exercise for different reasons. A study of 83 men and women found that men typically begin or continue an exercise program to improve their physique, while women hit the gym to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Both genders, however, experienced similar levels of exercise “addiction” (the healthy kind!) and commitment from their exercise regimens.
  • Test your competitive side. Another ACSM study showed that motivation to be physically active was higher when sports – instead of just exercise – were involved. Check at local health clubs to see if there are intramural leagues in your area.
  • Stay fit in short bouts. Researchers found that those who exercised in three, 10-minute segments per day were more likely to stay physically active compared to those who exercised continuously for 30 minutes.
  • Determine your barriers. Roadblocks to exercise are common – you don’t have enough time, lack the right resources, or just don’t know what to do to stay fit. Take ACSM’s free assessment of exercise barriers at www.acsm.org/physicalactivity (“Keys to Exercise” tab).

ACSM notes that exercise and proper nutrition are the best combination for weight loss and weight management. In addition, the holiday season is the perfect time to give the gift of fitness. Sessions with an ACSM-certified personal trainer (find one here), a health club membership, fitness equipment or DVDs, or group exercise classes for several friends are all health-friendly gift ideas.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.

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