Recall your positive exercise days and you’ll work out more!
Getting motivated to exercise is a challenge for many, but new research from the University of New Hampshire shows that simply remembering a positive memory about exercise could motivate you to hit the gym, the trails, or play the workout DVD.
“This study underscores the power of memory’s directive influence in a new domain with practical applications: exercise behaviors. These results provide the first experimental evidence that autobiographical memory activation can be an effective tool in motivating individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles,” researchers Mathew Biondolillo and David Pillemer wrote.
The researchers examined the effects of remembering past exercise experience on college students’ subsequent exercise intentions and behaviors. The researchers found that students who remembered a positive exercise memory reported significantly higher levels of subsequent exercise than those who were not asked to recall a memory about exercise (the control group). Perhaps oddly, students who were asked to recall a negative exercise memory also reported exercising more than the control group, although less than the positive memory group.
“Without explicit direction or encouragement, our sample of college students … increased their reported exercise activities from their habitual levels,” say the researchers.
Give it a shot: recall a happy exercise memory and let us know if it ups your motivation to work out this week!