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Pudgy to Perfect: Exercise Commitment Wavers with Motivation – #RevoltNowFit Week 9

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 14, 2012 A new study by Penn State researchers finds that motivation to exercise fluctuates from week to week. And, not surprisingly, the motivational fluctuations predict whether we will be physically active. In an effort to understand how the motivation to exercise is linked to behavior, researchers examined college students’ intentions to be physically active as well as their actual activity levels. “Many of us set New Year’s resolutions to be more physically active, and we expect these resolutions to be stable throughout the year,” said David Conroy, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology. “One of the things we see in this study is that from week to week our motivation can change a lot, and these weekly changes in motivation can be destructive to our resolutions.” Investigators recruited 33 college students and assessed over a 10-week period both the students’ weekly intentions to be physically active and their activity levels. Participants were instructed to log on to a website and to rate their intentions to perform physical activity for the week ahead. To assess physical activity, participants were instructed to wear pedometers each day for the first four weeks. Researchers discovered that for many of the participants, the motivation to exercise fluctuated on a weekly basis, and these fluctuations were linked to their behavior. The findings from the study appear in the current issue of the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology . “Our motivation to be physically active changes on a weekly basis because we have so many demands on our time,” said Conroy. For most of us, the challenge to remain motivated to exercise in the weeks when we are maxed-out is problematic. “Maybe one week we’re sick or we have a work deadline […]